Sumiko is a twelve-year-old Japanese girl living in California. Her family runs a flower farm that produces high quality flowers for florists throughout the area. Although Sumiko sometimes has to deal with teasing and racism from her classmates, her life has been relatively peaceful.
Everything changes, though, when Pearl Harbor is bombed. Public opinion shifts against the Japanese Americans and many feel that every Japanese person is a spy. Sumiko and her family are sent to a detainment camp in the Arizona desert. The dry soil of Sumiko's new home is not well suited toward growing flowers, and it seems that all traces of her former happy life will soon disappear.
Eventually she meets Frank, a young Indian boy. She wants to make friends with him, but he is angry at the Japanese people, because they are now living on land that used to be part of his tribe's Indian reservation.
“Weedflower” is a wonderful historical novel. It portrays the feelings of Japanese American during World War II with accurate detail. It also shows the challenge but also success of friendship across racial divides. Once again Cynthia Kadohata has produced a wonderful book that I highly enjoyed. Although “Weedflower” was not as moving or emotional as her Newberry Award winning “Kira-Kira” I felt that it was a very admirable book.
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