Twelve-year-old Sumiko feels her life has been made up of two parts: before Pearl Harbor and after it. The good part and the bad part. Raised on a flower farm in California, Sumiko is used to being the only Japanese girl in her class. Even when the other kids tease her, she always has had her flowers and family to go home to.
Now, other Americans start to suspect that all Japanese people are spies for the emperor and Sumiko and her family find themselves being shipped to an internment camp in one of the hottest deserts in the United States. The vivid color of her previous life is gone forever, and now dust storms regularly choke the sky and seep into every crack of the military barrack that is her new “home.”
Sumiko soon discovers that the camp is on an Indian reservation and that the Japanese are as unwanted there as they’d been at home. But then she meets a young Mohave boy who might just become her first real friend….
With searing insight and clarity, Newbery Medal—winning author Cynthia Kadohata explores an important and painful topic through the eyes of a young girl who yearns to belong. Weedflower is the story of the rewards and challenges of a friendship across the racial divide, as well as the based-on-real-life story of how the meeting of Japanese Americans and Native Americans changed the future of both.
From the Compact Disc edition.
It's not that this is a bad story. It's not that Kadohata is a bad writer. But her characters and narrative voice are filled with such quiet despair; Kira Kira was the same way. Narrator Kimberly Farr certainly succeeds in conveying that tone. It's an interesting story that brings out the conflict between Native Americans and the Japanese-American internees, and it is not an entirely dark story. If you liked Kira Kira and the author's voice, you will doubtless enjoy Weedflower.