Picture book about children helping blind man makes recommendation list

A picture book based on a true story about a blind man and the caring children who helped him commute is attracting attention in Japan.

The book, titled "Basu ga Kimashita yo," meaning "Here comes your bus," was ranked 10th on last year's list of picture books recommended by bookstore clerks across the country.

Every year a publisher announces the top 30 picture books based on a survey of about 3,000 bookstore clerks in Japan.

The book is based on the true story of Yamasaki Hirotaka, a 60-year-old official of Wakayama City in western Japan, who lost his eyesight due to disease.

The book illustrates the more than decade-long interaction between Yamasaki and local elementary school pupils who helped him get on and off the bus to go to work.

The children's help is known as a "relay with small hands" in the region.

According to the publisher, one clerk described the book as heartwarming because it shows the importance of compassion and that the pictures composed of soft colors match the story.

Another clerk found it moving that a succession of children continued to help Yamasaki without being told to do so by anyone.

Kimura Miyuki, the author, said she was thrilled to make the book list.

She also said she wants many people to know the true story through the picture book, and hopes to create a society filled with kindness.