I see yellow flowers in the green grass is a story of childhood in a poor village in central Vietnam, a childhood that belonged to this very author. When writing this story, it has been my hope that you, reader, will meet some part of your own childhood here too.
Koike Natsu, a college sophomore in Tokyo, wrote to me after reading the Japanese translation of this story: “I see yellow flowers in the green grass stirs my nostalgia for innocent days. When I were little, I also used to play with a toad just like Tường, but I no longer see those animals around my house anymore. People from the city often say, ‘the countryside is so boring, there’s nothing happening there.’ But I don’t think the same. There’s so much in villages to learn about, as your book shows us. Thiều’s village is full of beautiful landscapes, grasses and trees, wind, plus all kind of insects. In Tokyo, such serene spaces are being lost day by day. I have a great nostalgia for them.”
I share Koike Natsu’s feeling, as I always acutely miss the absence of my own childhood. The world of childhood haunts me. I often ache for the old innocent days, often when I am aware of being so distant from them now. The only way I can possibly draw them back to me is to write. I see yellow flowers in the green grass is among my attempts to realize this desire.
I hope you can meet your own childhood self in this book, even when the life and habits of the kids in this book are not the same as yours. I believe that what belongs to the soul can be the same, whenever and wherever you are.
I only have the simple wish that this book can be a map for you. A map with which you can find some paths back to the treasure that you thought was forever lost: your own magical Childhood.
I wish you a good trip.
(Nguyễn Nhật Ánh)