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Way to go: Setauket student Anna Sato

With a touch of creativity, Anna Sato hopes to make kanji - the characters of one of the three Japanese writing systems - easier to learn.

The Ward Melville High School sophomore in Setauket has copublished a bilingual book to introduce readers to kanji. "My First Japanese Kanji Book" has 36 lessons accompanied by poems and illustrations. She began working on the book five years ago.

"When I was little I went to Japanese school on weekends, and most of the kanji teaching materials were not very interesting," Sato said. "Kanji requires a lot of memorizing. . . . The pictures and poems make it fun."

Sato, 15, said the book, published by Tuttle Publishing, includes a CD in Japanese and English. Lessons were conceived with her mother, Eriko, who directs Stony Brook University's pre-college Japanese language program. They held a book signing at the university in September.

"Anna's keen eye for observation, combined with her . . . intuitive imagination, are truly remarkable," said Laurie Mandel, an art teacher at R.C. Murphy Junior High School.

Sato, a violist, is a member of her school's Art and Tri-M Music honor societies and INSTAR, a student research club.

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