Saturday, April 5, 2008

Historical Fiction: Weedflower

Kadohata, Cynthia. 2006. Weedflower. NY: Atheneum Books for Young Readers. ISBN: 0689865740.

Japanese-American Sumiko (Weedflower) live with her extended family in southern California and works on her aunt and uncle’s flower farm. Being in the only Asian in her sixth-grade Sumiko was the subject of prejudices but found comfort in being with her family. However, the day after she was turned away at the door to a classmate’s birthday party that she was invited to, her world changes when Japan attacks Pearl Harbor and America declares war. Now she, her family and all other Japanese (including American-born) are viewed by all with suspicion, and they soon find themselves being shipped to an the Colorado River Relocation interment camp in Poston, Arizona. Struggling with the isolation, fear, confusion and the boredom, Sumiko begins to find comfort in creating a small flower garden and a budding friendship of Frank, a Mohave Indian whose reservation is being used for the camp. Drawing these amazing details from personal interviews with survivors and the extensive research, Kadohata has created an amazingly compelling narrative about America’s World War II history and one girl’s coming-of-age as she searches for cultural acceptance. An excellent and resonating source for readers to learn about America’s World War II history and civil rights of Japanese-Americans.

*Read Kadohata’s book Kira-Kira.

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