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by Allen Say & illustrated by Allen Say

Pub Date: March 29th, 2004
ISBN: 0-618-31118-1
Publisher: Walter Lorraine/Houghton Mifflin

Understated full-page water-color paintings and a spare text tell the life story of Alice Sumida, who “loved dancing more than anything else.” As a child, Alice wished that “Daddy’s tractor would turn into a coach and take me dancing.” After college she married Mark, who sold seeds. Like thousands of other Americans of Japanese descent, the couple was forced to evacuate during WWII. In the sandy desert of eastern Oregon, they leased land to start a farm of their own, and after years of hard work became “the largest gladiola bulb growers in the country.” Eventually, they sold the business. “What good is success,” Alice thought, “if we can’t enjoy ourselves?” After her husband’s death, Alice visits the farm, now in ruins. In a poignant moment, Alice realizes that now she can dance: “And dance I do—all that I can.” Each of Say’s exquisite paintings tells a story; together they create a moving testament to a life of hard work and dreams—dreams that find fulfillment in unanticipated ways. (Picture book. All ages)