What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Weedflower, by Cynthia Kadohata, who won the Newbery Medal for Kira-Kira and the U.S. National Book Award for The Thing About Luck, addresses issues of racism and discrimination during World War II, including the U.S. internment of Japanese-Americans. There are two incidents of groups beating up individuals, descriptions of cigarette smoking by teens, and several examples of children stealing.
What's the story?
Sixth-grader Sumiko's family is uprooted from its California flower farm and forced into an Arizona internment camp when the United States joins World War II. Sumiko slowly finds her way in her new life, creating a garden and befriending a boy from the Mohave reservation. But once she's settled, will her family have to move yet again?
Is it any good?
In WEEDFLOWER, Newbery Medal-winning author Cynthia Kadohata first seems to offer a sad but familiar story about families forced into internment camps. However, she finds a fresh angle by juxtaposing the prejudice against Japanese-Americans with ongoing discrimination of Native Americans on the reservation "hosting" the camp. Sumiko is surprised to discover, for example, that her new friend Frank's tribe cannot vote; no one on the reservation has electricity or running water.
The reflective story will appeal to those who appreciate Sumiko's close relationship with her older cousins and younger brother and want to learn more about this dark period in U.S. history.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the internment of Japanese and Japanese-American people in the United states during World War II. Do you think it was justified?
Did you know about it the wartime Japanese internment before you read this book? Do you think it should be more widely discussed in school?
What do you think of Sumiko's idea of "ultimate boredom," which she describes as "dread of your own mind, dread of the next day, the next hour, the next minute." How does Sumiko fight this condition?