Eleven-year-old Mitsi Kashino and her family are forced to move to a Japanese internment camp following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Japanese-Americans are forced to leave their homes, their jobs, and all but what they can carry. Unfortunately for Mitsi, this also means leaving her beloved dog, Dash, behind. Thankfully, a good-hearted neighbor agrees to take Dash in. The neighbor writes letters to Mitsi, composing them from Dash’s point of view, and these keep Mitsi connected with the world beyond the fence. Overcrowded living quarters, long lines and minimal resources stretch the patience of the internees and threaten the bonds of the Kashino family. However, even amid their incarceration, there are spots of hope. Mitsi and her family find new friendships, rediscover old traditions and reinvent their lives. Through it all, Mitsi holds tight to her dream of the end of the war and her reunion with Dash. Larson makes this terrible event in American history personal with the story of one girl and her beloved pet. Spot-on dialogue, careful cultural details and the inclusion of specific historical characters such as artist Eddie Sato make this an educational read as well as a heartwarming one. An author’s note adds further authenticity.
This emotionally satisfying and thought-provoking book will have readers pulling for Mitsi and Dash. (Historical fiction. 8-12)