A Place to Belong Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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Five starred reviews!
“Another gift from Kadohata to her readers.” (Booklist, starred review)
A Japanese American family, reeling from their ill treatment in the Japanese imprisonment camps, gives up their American citizenship to move back to Hiroshima, unaware of the devastation wreaked by the atomic bomb in this piercing and all too relevant look at the aftermath of World War II by Newbery Medalist Cynthia Kadohata.
World War II has ended, but while America has won the war, 12-year-old Hanako feels lost. To her, the world, and her world, seems irrevocably broken. America, the only home she’s ever known, imprisoned and then rejected her and her family - and thousands of other innocent Americans - because of their Japanese heritage, because Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Japan, the country they’ve been forced to move to, the country they hope will be the family’s saving grace, where they were supposed to start new and better lives, is in shambles because America dropped bombs of their own - one on Hiroshima unlike any other in history. And Hanako’s grandparents live in a small village just outside the ravaged city. The country is starving, the black markets run rampant, and countless orphans beg for food on the streets, but how can Hanako help them when there is not even enough food for her own brother? Hanako feels she could crack under the pressure, but just because something is broken doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed. Cracks can make room for gold, her grandfather explains when he tells her about the tradition of kintsukuroi - fixing broken objects with gold lacquer, making them stronger and more beautiful than ever. As she struggles to adjust to find her place in a new world, Hanako will find that the gold can come in many forms, and family may be hers.
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|Listening Length||8 hours and 53 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||May 14, 2019|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #110,756 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#251 in Historical Fiction for Children
#978 in Children's Fiction on Social Situations
#1,816 in Growing Up & Facts of Life for Children
Top reviews from the United States
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Although Hanako and her brother were born in America and are Americans, her parents immigrated from Japan. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor and spending four years in a camp, they're shipping 'back' to Japan. Hanako's life is already a sea without roots as four years before, everything was taken from them—her father's restaurant, their home, their lives. Living in Japan is something she's not sure whether to fear or be hopeful about. While the grandparents she never knew before are as amazing as can be, they reside not too far from Hiroshima. The pain and destruction from the bomb hits in a way Hanako never could have dreamed. Somehow, she hopes to find a new beauty, one described by her grandfather, in the chaos and pain.
The author has taken a very complex and troubled moment in history and presented it in a bitter-sweet and beautiful light with just the right amount of hope for the intended age group. Hanako is a lovely girl. Despite the unfair and terrible treatment her family faces, there isn't a sign of hatred or contempt in her heart. Her entire family maintains a peaceful and hopeful attitude, which outshines the darkness around them. Her reactions and thoughts are understandable and her desire to help is an inspiration. The grandparents add to this with their humor and extremely positive attitude. And it's this brightness which allows the horrible world around them to be presented in just the right way.
This isn't a fast paced read, but rather allows the needed time for everything to sink in. And there is quite a bit for the author to bring across. The four years in the camp are only dabbled in as memories and mentions, while the first chapters allow the reader to settle into the entire situation as well as the characters. This isn't an action book, but glides on emotions and experiences. It digs into the heart and brings the problems to life. Not only young teens will enjoy this one, but older readers are sure to get lost in the pages as well.
I received a complimentary copy and enjoyed the author's beautiful weave very much. So, I'm leaving my honest thoughts.
I loved this story of a girl and her family who are trying to find their place in the world, a world that is shifting, changing, where no one feels certain of what home is. It's a story I haven't heard before now, and it's delicately told in that beautiful Japanese way of honing in on a single flower petal and then zooming out suddenly to the big truths of the world.
I'm pretty sure this will be one of my favorite reads of the year.