For hundreds of years, school children in Japan have been introduced to poetry through the work of Issa. Born in 1763 on a farm in central Japan, Issa began writing poetry as a young child, inspired by his deep love for the natural world. Later in his boyhood and throughout his life, poetry was also Issa's refuge in times of joy and in times of suffering. Matthew Gollub's poignant rendering of Issa's life and over thirty of his best-loved poems, along with Kazuko Stone's sensitive and humorous watercolor paintings, make Cool Melons a classic introduction to Issa's work for readers of all ages. With authentic Japanese calligraphy, a detailed Afterword, and exhaustive research by both author and illustrator, this is also an inspirational book about haiku, writing, nature, and life.