Review by Booklist Review
Along with many other Japanese Americans on the West Coast in 1942, Manami, her parents, and her grandfather are evacuated from their home. When they leave Bainbridge Island, she manages to hide her beloved dog under her coat, but a soldier takes him away. Overwhelmed by distress and sadness, Manami stops speaking. Life is difficult for the family at the Manzanar Relocation Center. Troublemakers bring turmoil to the crowded camp and other changes come as well, but Manami and her relatives gradually find ways to cope and look toward the future. An appended author's note offers historical information on Japanese Americans and the WWII relocation camps. Sepahban's debut offers a quiet, personal story with nuanced character portrayals and resonant emotional undertones. Manami's journal-like narrative features relatively simple vocabulary and a clear, direct style. This engaging chapter book offers a personal perspective on events and reasons to care about the outcome. A fine selection for historical-fiction fans and a natural choice for readers who loved Kirby Larson's Dash (2014).--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2015 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
First-person, present-tense narration gives voice to a voiceless child amid the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. Ten-year-old Manami and her family are relocated from Bainbridge Island, Wash., to a California internment camp after the bombing of Pearl Harbor; in a wrenching early scene, a soldier forcibly separates Manami from Yujiin, her beloved dog, after which she becomes mute, expressing her longing only in drawings. Manami's narration occasionally takes the form of short, poetic bursts: "So it is settled. Father will work. Mother will cook. Grandfather will sit. What will I do? Water plants. Sit with Grandfather. Wait for Yujiin." Sepahban, the author of several works of children's nonfiction, eloquently conveys the devastating effects of internment and a resilience undergirded by cultural traditions. In one quietly powerful scene, Manami acknowledges her depressed grandfather's return to family meals: "A ceremony to honor a special occasion. Mother is preparing tea." In depicting how Manami's college-age brother, Ron, must choose between internment or joining the army, Sepahban captures the contradictions of this bleak period. Engrossing and heartrending historical fiction. Ages 9-12. Agent: Kathleen Rushall, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 4-6-In March 1942, 10-year-old Manami Tanaka's whole world changes. Her family is forced to leave their home on Bainbridge Island along with all the other Japanese Americans in their community. Though arrangements have been made for a neighbor to care for their dog, Yujiin, Manami can't bear to leave him behind and tries to bring him along, hidden under her coat. When Yujiin is discovered, Manami is made to abandon him in transit to California. Full of guilt, uncertainty, and fear, Manami stops speaking. Her family makes what life they can in the "prison-village," but Manami cannot find her voice again. Her kind teacher gives her paper and pencils, and Manami draws what she sees and what she remembers of home. But mostly, she draws Yujiin, whom she continues to hear on the wind. She begins sending these drawings into the air, hoping that Yujiin will find one and return to her. All the while, the camp continues to grow as more and more Japanese Americans are forcibly relocated to Manzanar. This debut novel about one family's, and in particular one young girl's, experience in an internment camp shines with sensitivity and heart. Manami's story unfolds with spare and affecting prose, and the author trusts readers to truly make the connections between what the girl observes and experiences and her emotions and reactions. Her longing for Yujiin is heartbreaking and palpable, and readers see and, more importantly, feel along with the protagonist as she tries to find her voice again. An author's note provides more information on the history of Japanese immigrants to the United States and on the internment camps during World War II. VERDICT A superior story of survival and love set during this dark time in American history.-Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review
In 1942, ten-year-old Japanese American girl Manami and her family are forced to leave their home on Bainbridge Island, Washington, for Manzanar, an internment camp in the California desert. Grandfather has arranged for their dog Yujiin to stay with their pastor, but Manami hides the pup in her coat instead. On the mainland, a soldier discovers the dog, who must then be left behind in a crate, his fate unknown. Heartbroken for Yujiin, herself, and Grandfather (who had found the dog just after Grandmother died), Manami becomes mute. Her emotional trauma is sensitively portrayed, as is Grandfathers subsequent depression. Kirby Larsons Scott ODell Awardwinning Dash (rev. 9/14) tells a similar story, but a much lighter one, and with a happy ending. Sepahbans novel is sadder and ends before the war does, but Manami does recover her voice when she needs it most, and the story closes on a hopeful note with a move to another camp. The historical background of the Manzanar Riot is incompletely explained (perhaps portraying the young protagonists limited understanding of the event), and the familys occasional gestures of physical affection seem culturally inaccurate, but readers ready for a more somber view of Japanese American internment should find this novel honest and engaging. A lengthy, informative authors note is appended. jennifer m. brabander (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
During World War II, Manami and her parents and grandfather are forced to relocate from Bainbridge Island in Washington to Manzanar, an internment camp in California for Japanese-Americans. As they're about to leave behind everything they own, Manami snatches Yujiin, their beloved dog, into her coat before anyone sees. Sadly, a soldier catches Manami, and Yujiin is left behind in a crate. Heartbroken, guilt-ridden over Yujiin, and fearful of their Manzanar "prison-village," Manami loses her voice. The relentless, swirling red dirt that coats her throat with mud worsens her silence. Her parents try to make a home in their one-room barrack, while their son, Ron, leaves college to join them. A breath of fresh air is felt when Manami meets her teacher, Miss Rosalie, who doesn't make her speak but offers Manami plenty of paper and pencils. When Manami sends hand-drawn messages via the wind to Yujiin, she hopes that the little dog will get them and find his way back home. Hardships, injustice, and the emotional truth of Manami's camp life are thoughtfully portrayed through simple and heart-rending prose. Despite the barbed wire fence and harsh climate, Mother's garden, mounds bearing garlic and onion seeds, becomes a symbol for resiliency. Graceful moments between Manami and Grandfather shine, giving hope to an unbearable situation. This historical debut speaks volumes of love and longing. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.