Written by Cynthia Kadohata
Review by Juliet Waldron


Kadohata, winner of the Newbery Medal, has created an inspiring story based upon the wartime misfortunes of her own family. Weedflower is the story of twelve-year-old Sumiko, a girl whose grandparents came to California from Japan. During World War II, Sumiko works hard on the family carnation farm. She longs for nothing more than to have friends among her Anglo schoolmates, but instead must watch her already circumscribed world contract as the national tide of paranoia rises. After Pearl Harbor, her family is taken from the land they’ve cultivated and loved for generations and interned in the Arizona desert. They soon discover that their camp has been built on land belonging to another “interned tribe,” the Mojave Indians. Sumiko, digging the rocky soil of the desert and carrying water to a small plot of carnations, demonstrates resilience, determination and hope as she confronts the overwhelming circumstance of loss in this hostile environment. The desert around Posten blooms today because of the pioneering efforts of those interned Japanese farmers! Weedflower is a skillful, measured recounting of an ignoble chapter in American history as experienced by a sensitive child, and highly recommended. Ages 11 and up.