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A well balanced read.

Weedflower - Cynthia Kadohata

I listened to this as an unabridged audiobook, narrated by Kimberly Farr, and was particularly impressed that it told, not only the story of the internment of the Japanese, but also the effect this had on the indigenous Indian population, whose land they were encamped on.


We first meet Sumiko, in the days before WWII, living in California. She is the only Japanese girl in her class, but it has never been much of a problem; she has her family and her part in the running of the family's flower farm, life is good.

As WWII looms and the Japanese become the enemy, she finds that although she was born and raised in America, she is viewed with suspicion and distrust, and eventually has to move to an internment camp deep in the dusty desert of Arizona, along with the women of her family. The adult men are incarcerated elsewhere.

They soon discover that the land is already occupied, by the Mohave Indians, who are not at all happy to be sharing.


Sumiko is a wonderfully positive character, who makes the best of everything, even dust storms and heat. She befriends an elderly man and helps create a garden in the wilderness and she meets a young Mohave boy, learning why his people are resentful of their arrival.


This was a well balanced and highly readable young adult novel that easily crossed over into adult reading. I may well listen to the audiobook again in the future.