Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lonely girl Weedflower

WeedflowerCynthia Kadohata won a Newbery medal for a previous book, so when I hit her shelf on my Reading My Library browsing I grabbed another of her titles: Weedflower. This one is a historical book set during the Japanese interment
during World War II. The orphaned protagonist and her little brother live with her uncle's family, and when the men are sent to a prison camp and the rest of the family rounded up and sent to an interment camp she feels the loss of her home all over again.

Weedflower's camp is the one located on a Indian reservation, and she meets some of the people who are displaced to make room for the Japanese. We also watch as the fabric of her family is slowly frayed away -- children no longer show respect and the families tend to live parallel lives that rarely intersect.

As an adult, I can see how Kadohata hits educational points about World War II: the Japanese interment as well as the injustices on Indian reservations; the life and stress of the camps as well as the prejudices against the Japanese even before the round-up, the conflict between traditional Japanese culture and the different standards of American life. But although I would have soaked up these facts and impressions as a child, my attention would have stayed on the girl whose garden won a prize, who helped her friend learn about farming, who wrestled with her fears both for the cousin who wanted to enlist and the one bitter about white prejudice. Although not as powerful as Kira-Kira, I still enjoyed this selection.

1 comment:

Alex said...

Nice, honest review. I have been meaning to read this but just haven't gotten there yet. Maybe I will try Kira Kira first.