Daisaku Ikeda has authored several children’s stories, which have been translated into numerous languages. These children’s stories have been introduced to the world through the talents of acclaimed British illustrator Brian Wildsmith. Several have been made into animated films and lauded for their positive influence on young viewers. A series of his animated stories won the 2005 Anak TV Broadcasters’ Award from the Philippine-based Southeast Asian Foundation for Children’s Television.
Several of his children’s stories have also been broadcast in the Indian television on Doordarshan channel.
The Snow Country Prince
The Snow Country Prince relates the story of a young boy and his sister in a fishing village in the snow country who care for an injured swan through the harsh winter, while their sick father is being treated at a distant hospital. The Snow Country Prince visits the children and teaches them that whatever happens, they must never give up, never stop trying. Through patiently caring for the swan, the children awaken their compassionate spirit as well as a strong hope for their father’s recovery. As the swan regains its strength, the children record its progress in drawings to encourage their father in the hospital. He, too, recovers and the family is finally reunited at the end of the long winter.
The Cherry Tree
This tale of a cherry tree’s survival after the devastation of war reaches the hearts of children too young to understand abstract ideas like pacifism and environmentalism. Brian Wildsmith’s illustrations create an enchanting world where together with a boy, a girl, their newly adopted cat and their mother, the reader can rejoice in a dream come true after enduring a cold, harsh winter and learn the importance of hope and perseverance in the face of all odds.
The Princess and the Moon
Sophie has an unexpected adventure when a mystical rabbit travels down a moonbeam and takes her back to the Country of the Moon with him. There she sees the people she knows but they are all happier and more open-hearted––how they would be if they were treated like princes and princesses. In this story, delightfully illustrated by Brian Wildsmith, she learns to treasure other people, to look “as the Moon looks, with royal, bright and caring eyes. And to see the things that matter.”
Over the Deep Blue Sea
Through a series of adventures, three children learn about the diversity of life in the sea. Along the way they overcome prejudice and witness the scars of war. They also discover the unique value of their individual lives and the eternal bonds of friendship that connect all humanity. “How can anyone be enemies,” asks one of the children, “if it’s only the sea in between that makes us different?” Brian Wildsmith works his color magic on the tropical seas and fishes that provide the setting for this tale.
Kanta and the Deer
Kanta is a city boy being cared for by an uncle living in the remote mountains of Hokkaido in northern Japan. The boy, who must live apart from his parents due to their work, has no other children for playmates and is very timid. “His parents thought living close to nature might toughen him up a little.”
One day, Kanta befriends Poyu, a baby deer that lost its parents and herd to merciless hunters. The boy and the deer develop a unique friendship as the deer grows into a brave young buck and Kanta discovers his own resiliency and courage. With the bitter, cold Hokkaido winter as the backdrop, together they fight to save the deer from extinction and Kanta develops deep respect for the creatures that struggle to survive in such tough conditions.
The characters come alive through the rich, earthy renderings of Christina Sun, a renowned New York illustrator.