Monday, June 29, 2015

Review of Red Berries White Clouds Blue Sky by Sandra Dallas


Tomi Itano is a twelve-year-old American girl of Japanese descent. Her parents came to this country for freedom and opportunity.  In the aftermath of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Tomi's father is suspected of being a spy and is taken away while Tomi and the rest of her family are sent to an internment camp.

I enjoyed this book. The story is told from Tomi's point of view which allows a reader to truly grasp and share her dismay at the gross injustice being enacted upon these people. One particularly poignant moment occurs when Tomi asks a boy who has been prejudiced against Americans of Japanese descent what language he speaks at home. He responds: "German." This is a compelling moment in the story that is deftly handled by Dallas.

The book is subtle and delicate in tone and illuminates a tragic chapter in American history in a way that is immediately accessible to middle grade readers. My only criticism of the story is that Dallas ties it up too neatly in the end, but I will leave it at that.

This is a book that I intend to share with my fourth and fifth grade students in the upcoming school year.