THE BRACELET

Emi, a young Japanese-American whose family leaves Berkeley to be interned at the beginning of WW II, receives a bracelet as a parting gift from her best friend, but it's lost on the first day at the camp. Emi is desolate, but soon realizes she won't need a keepsake to remember her friend—the memories that fill her heart will always be with her. This account of injustice and dislocation- -based on the author's own experiences and previously published as a short story—achieves its wrenching effect by the accumulation of details: a beloved garden left untended, matching registration tags attached to family members and their belongings, the squalid ``apartment'' in a horse stall at an abandoned racetrack. Readers can find the autobiographical roots of this story in The Invisible Thread (1991), along with many other examples of the courage and determination that enabled Uchida's family, like Emi's, to survive imprisonment with values and spirit intact. The carefully researched watercolors, with their irregular edges, are like old pictures ripped from an album. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 1993

ISBN: 0-399-22503-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1993

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TEA WITH MILK

In describing how his parents met, Say continues to explore the ways that differing cultures can harmonize; raised near San Francisco and known as May everywhere except at home, where she is Masako, the child who will grow up to be Say’s mother becomes a misfit when her family moves back to Japan. Rebelling against attempts to force her into the mold of a traditional Japanese woman, she leaves for Osaka, finds work as a department store translator, and meets Joseph, a Chinese businessman who not only speaks English, but prefers tea with milk and sugar, and persuades her that “home isn’t a place or a building that’s ready-made or waiting for you, in America or anywhere else.” Painted with characteristic control and restraint, Say’s illustrations, largely portraits, begin with a sepia view of a sullen child in a kimono, gradually take on distinct, subdued color, and end with a formal shot of the smiling young couple in Western dress. A stately cousin to Ina R. Friedman’s How My Parents Learned To Eat (1984), also illustrated by Say. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-90495-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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THOSE SHOES

The hottest fad can also be the most expensive and out of reach for children in limited financial circumstances. Jeremy, living with his Grandma, dreams of wearing the latest cool black high-tops with two white stripes. But as Grandma points out, “There’s no room for ‘want’ around here—just ‘need’ ” and what Jeremy needs and gets is a new pair of winter boots. Jeremy’s quest for new sneakers takes on more urgency when his old pair fall apart, and the only choice is the Velcro baby-blue set meant for little kids found in the school’s donation box by the guidance counselor. Even Grandma understands and together they search several thrift shops and actually find the coveted black high-tops, but they’re too small. Buying them anyway, Jeremy makes a heartfelt decision to put them to a more practical and generous use. Boelts blends themes of teasing, embarrassment and disappointment with kindness and generosity in a realistic interracial school scenario bringing affecting closure to a little boy’s effort to cope in a world filled with materialistic attractions and distractions. Muted browns/greens/blues done in watercolors, pencils and ink, and digitally arranged, add to the story’s expressive affirmation of what is really important. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-7636-2499-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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