Thursday, May 19, 2016

Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban

The personal anguish of being uprooted and sent to a prison-like internment camp are captured in the character of a young Japanese girl in Lois Sepahban's debut novel. Manami is forced from her home in Bainbridge Island, Washington with other Japanese during World War II. She has no idea what is going on when they leave and sneaks her dog with her under her coat. When soldiers force her to abandon the dog and she arrives at the internment camp, she is traumatized by the event and becomes mute losing her dog, her voice, and her home.

The author targets young readers and simplifies the story focusing on Manami and her internal turmoil. The subplots regarding the forbidden romance between two teachers, the riot at the camp, and residents and not developed or elaborated much. Manami doesn't know why she is at the camp and seems oblivious to the war which didn't ring true. The author shows that Manami's parents don't tell her anything, but wouldn't she hear about it at school? As a 10-year-old she would at least know about the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese. She arrives at the camp as an incredibly clueless person. The short choppy sentences reflect a younger person and also one that is from a bilingual home, although this is never stated in the story. I found the story somewhat slow with little character development, but I think students will like the thrust of a girl's grief over losing her pet and home.

3 Smileys

No comments:

Post a Comment