Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban

Published by Farrar Straus Giroux 

Summary: Ten-year-old Manami lives happily with her parents and grandfather on Bainbridge Island, Washington in 1942. Her whole life changes when her family is ordered to leave the island for a Japanese American prison camp in the desert.  Hardest of all is leaving Yujiin, the family dog.  On an impulse, Manami hides Yujiin under her coat, only to have him confiscated when the family gets to the mainland.  Overcome with grief and guilt, Manami stops talking.  Her family is loving and supportive as they try to adjust to life in the barracks and the harsh desert climate.  Manami is a gifted artist, and she draws many pictures for Yujiin, sending them out on the wind with the hope that they will help him find the family again.  When tragedy strikes her family, Manami must find the courage to move beyond her guilt and try to help those around her.  An author’s note tells a brief history of Japanese immigrants to America and why some of them were imprisoned during World War II.  181 pages; ages 9-12.

Pros:  A beautifully written story of a loving family supporting each other through unimaginably difficult circumstances.  Manami’s present tense voice gives an air of immediacy to the story, and helps the reader watch events unfold through her eyes.

Cons: Although her family members were kind and loving, no one really explained to Manami why they were forced to move.

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