Saturday, April 12, 2014


by Cynthia Kadohata

Genre: Historical Fiction, Juvenile Fiction

Synopsis:  Twelve-year old Sumiko's life can be divided into two parts: before Pearl Harbor, and after.  Before the bombing, although she was lonely, she was used to being the only Japanese-American in her class and she always had her family to comfort her.

When the government forces all of the Japanese-Americans living in California into internment camps, Sumiko soon discovers that the Japanese are just as unwanted on the Mohave reservation they have been shipped to as they were at home.  But then she meets a young Mohave boy, who, after initial resentment, becomes her first real friend.  Together, they navigate the racial and political challenges of the times, and both help each other understand the true meaning of friendship.
From the back of the book

Review:  It's nice that the author gives young adults exposure to the Japanese internment camps and what happened in our country during WWII because most books are about what was going on in Europe.  Sumiko's story is well told and honest.  We understand her family's fear after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the waiting game of when they were going to be taken away from California.  We understand the heartache of selling off their goods and watching their home disappear as they leave to be taken to a camp.  We understand Sumiko's lethargy as she is in camp and the feeling of hopelessness and discontentment.  This book is written for a younger audience.  I felt like the ending was fairly abrupt and I would have liked to know more about what happened to Sumiko and her family.

Rating:  3 1/2 stars

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