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This is such an important book for filling out young people’s understanding of WW II and the treatment of Americans sent to internment camps which resulted in repatriation of many back to Japan with their family members of which many had never been anything other than citizens of the USA. Shocking, educational, and so well written. This is American history left out of the history books but needs to be known.
This historical-fiction title has SUCH HEART. I was saddened to leave the characters when the narrative closed, but given that it did so on such a heartfelt, affirming note, I left the title with gratitude for the reading experience. This is a fine book to instruct (or gift!) to readers in the middle grades. Nuanced, layered, and surprisingly complex, it stays with you when it is done.
My son loved this book. I read it after him and loved it too. I learned a lot about the internment camps in the United States in the 1950s and how American citizens were coerced into giving up their American citizenship.
Hope and love shine as a constant beacon in a tale which leaves the reader sighing and praying that a a girl and her homeland find a way to survive.
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.
This was a book that I picked up from the local library, for my mom who is not able to go far from home. She told me to read this one because it was soooo good. And she was right. My connection to the Japanese people is very close and my husband's own relatives were in the internment camps.
As I read this sweet book, I came to understand the feelings of these people in this very unfortunate situation much better. The book revealed things that I had supposed happened, because my mother fled the eastern areas of Germany during WWII and was also in a camp in the Czech Republic. This book brought this much closer to my thoughts and understanding. I highly recommend this book. It was very, very good. You come to love the family of Hanako and their love for one another.
This is a better novel than many adult novels I read. It tells poignant story and suffers no fools. It is a YA novel but tells an explicit straight story and tells it well. A Japanese family who lost their restaurant, home and pet when they were rounded up by the American military because they were ethnic Japanese. The family spent years in internment camps then at the end of the war, the parents were pressured to renounce their American citizenship and emigrate to Japan. Their relatives lived near Hiroshima so they experienced the bomb. The land they live on is desolate and many people are starving. One thing that bothered me was that the radioactive effects aren't addressed except for the bomb and immediate aftereffects. No one does of cancer or chronic illness. That bothered me. Other than that, I lived the book.
Reviewed in the United States on September 12, 2019
Hanako and her family---her father, mother, and little brother---are moving to Japan. The war is over, a war which the family spent interred in a detention camp for Japanese Americans. Roosevelt offered the adults an opportunity to revoke their citizenship and to be returned to Japan and Hanako's parents have decided to do this. They are going to stay with Hanako's grandparents on a country farm outside a large city, Hiroshima, a city that was rumored in the camps to have been bombed.
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.
A Place to Belong is a story to rock your world. I'm grateful for this look into a time and place I could never visit. It is a difficult subject and I really felt for Hanako. A child should never have to experience what she went through. There are numerous places where I really wondered what I would do if I were in her shoes. A great book for discussion. I found the ending to actually be a beginning and hope that Ms Kadohata will continue the story so we can find out how all these wonderful characters fare in the future. This book has a lot of depth. I think I would want to read it with my child. It might be challenging for a child on their own. They should definitely have someone to turn to with questions. Thank you to Edelweiss and Simon&Schuster for giving me an advance copy to read in exchange for my honest review.
I LOVE this book!! It took me a long time to finished it, and thinking the story was having 41 chapters!!!! Girl's name is Hanako. Please!! Date: March 14, 2021. If you want to know when. Covid 19. Have a good day!!!!!!!! BYE.