Kirkus Reviews QR Code
A PLACE WHERE SUNFLOWERS GROW by Amy Lee-Tai

A PLACE WHERE SUNFLOWERS GROW

By Amy Lee-Tai (Author) , Felicia Hoshino (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-89239-215-0
Publisher: Children's Book Press

“Spring comes after winter, and flowers bloom again. Peace comes after war.” Her father’s philosophy is young Mari’s hope as she plants a handful of sunflower seeds in the sun-parched, barbed-wire-bound yard of the WWII internment camp at Topaz, Utah. Like thousands of other innocent American citizens, Mari and her family have been forced to leave their home to live in a relocation center; they are determined to preserve their self-respect and some semblance of a normal life. Patience and persistence let Mari find comfort in drawing; drawing lets her find questions and the courage to ask them. With time and care, Mari also finds that her sunflowers have sprouted, despite difficult, drought-blighted beginnings. This gentle metaphor, presented in English and Japanese, germinates from the real-life experiences of the author’s family. Hoshino’s watercolor-and-mixed-media illustrations are golden, topaz-touched; their palette and composition hint of the classic nursery rhyme art of Jessie Wilcox Smith and others, aptly evoking the era they depict. A satisfying introduction and backmatter, including personal notes from the author and artist, acknowledgments and translation credits, make this a richly informative introduction to a subject little-addressed in works for children. (Picture book. 5-10)