That all changes after the horrific events of Pearl Harbor. Other Americans start to suspect that all Japanese people are spies for the emperor, even if, like Sumiko, they were born in the United States! As suspicions grow, Sumiko and her family find themselves being shipped to an internment camp in one of the hottest deserts in the United States. The vivid color of her previous life is gone forever, and now dust storms regularly choke the sky and seep into every crack of the military barrack that is her new "home".
Sumiko soon discovers that the camp is on an Indian reservation and that the Japanese are as unwanted there as they'd been at home. But then she meets a young Mohave boy who might just become her first real friend, if he can ever stop being angry about the fact that the internment camp is on his tribe's land.
With searing insight and clarity, Newbery Medal-winning author Cynthia Kadohata explores an important and painful topic through the eyes of a young girl who yearns to belong. Weedflower is the story of the rewards and challenges of a friendship across the racial divide, as well as the based-on-real-life story of how the meeting of Japanese Americans and Native Americans changed the future of both.
©2006 Cynthia Kadohata; (P)2006 Random House, Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group
"Kadohata clearly and eloquently conveys her heroine's mixture of shame, anger, and courage. Readers will be inspired." (Publishers Weekly)
I liked this book. The narrator was very good and the story is one that needs to be told. Many of us have forgotten the treatment of the American Japanese citizens in California during WWII. This book was told from a child's view point and didn't demonize the government, but simply told the story of what happened through a fictional character. It also touches on the treatment of the American Indian. Both of these are difficult topics that I think the author handled very well. This is a good book for everyone to read, but I think it would be especially good in the middle school setting.
I process the topic with students as thoroughly as I am able. Because Sumiko is of middle school age it is easier for students to relate to her challenges. Students go on an emotional roller coaster with the main character. There is compassion, frustration, anger, and Japanese guilt for main character. Most students can relate to the emotions but not the intensity. A well written story to start the discussion about the tragedies of wartime.
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