Family movie night? There's an app for that
Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The author includes facts that inspired Vera's story in the afterward. Readers will be moved by this unusual bit of history, and may want to learn more about the Aleuts and other World War II stories.
This story will inspire readers to think about intolerance -- and the struggle people go through to keep what's important to them alive, even during horrendous times.
Positive Role Models
Vera's grandfather tells her, "Your work is to know the ways of our people." This she tries to do in the face of hardship, disease, and death.
Violence & Scariness
Describes the toll the forced deportation has on the Aleuts. For example, Vera's best friend dies.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this book deals with a little-known part of American history: Native Aleutian Islanders who were evacuated in advance of the Japanese invasion of their islands. For three years they were held in camps, supposedly for their protection, where a quarter of them died of various diseases. In this fictional story, told in free verse, Vera's best friend is one of those who dies. Vera herself is a strong character: her grandfather tells her, "Your work is to know the ways of our people." This she tries to do in the face of hardship, disease, and death. Kids will need background, context, and help understanding how such a thing could have happened; you may want to read the author's factual notes in the book's afterward with them first.
Is It Any Good?
Though not as unrelentingly depressing as the author's award-winning Out of the Dust, this book is filled with little action, little characterization, and little hope. Karen Hesse has an important story to tell, and readers may be initially drawn in by the unusual piece of history. They may also be intrigued by the free verse form. But without plot, vivid characters, or emotional power, this book is unlikely to captivate many kids.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.