Monday, February 2, 2009

Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata

12 year old Sumiko, a Japanese-American girl, lives with her Aunt and Uncle on a little flower farm in Southern California. The only Japanese at her school, Sumiko yearns to belong and have friends, but with the attack on Pearl Harbor all her hopes and dreams are shattered and her family torn apart.
Suspected of being terrorist, Sumiko’s uncle and grandfather are sent away to a prisoner of war camp, and she, her Aunt, two older cousins and brother are sent to a camp in the Arizona desert on the Mohave reservation. The Japanese soon find that they are as unwelcome on the Indian lands as in their homes before. Struggling with depression “the ultimate boredom”, heat and dust storms, Sumiko learns to find friendship in unusual places as she tries to bring meaning to her new life by planting flower seeds from her old life. As Sumiko grows into adulthood she discovers similarities between their treatment and the Mohave tribe and finds rewards in friendship that cross age and racial dividers.
This heart-rending tale of one girl’s plight to fit it in, in a world torn by war and fear is compelling reading, giving us a glimpse into a time little written about in American history. Newbery award winning author Kadohata wonderfully captures Sumiko's pain, her understanding and her joys.

Part of the 100+ book challenge