In 1942 twelve year old Tomi Itano and her family work on their strawberry farm in California. She loves the way the red berries look against the white clouds and blue sky because it reminds her of the flag. She is a second generation Japanese American and couldn’t be more proud to be an American. When Tomi walks to town with her younger brother she is surprised to see a sign in a window proclaiming that Japanese are not allowed. She and her brothers were born in America, and they don’t even speak Japanese. Her father is suspected of being a spy and is taken away in handcuffs, and the fear in her heart becomes very real. Soon Tomi’s mother is selling all their belongings except a few things they will take with them when the government relocates them. Where are they going? They aren’t sure, but they eventually end up in an internment camp with other Japanese families they don’t know in Colorado. Tomi works to have a good attitude and helps her mom make their new home feel a little better. As time stretches on and the family is forced to live in poor conditions apart from the rest of the country, it's harder to be positive. Tomi is confused by the way they're treated and becomes bitter. Will Tomi see her father again? How long with the Itanos and other families need to stay in the internment camp? Will things ever get better? You’ll have to read this book to find out how things turn out for Tomi and her family.
Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky by Sandra Dallas is a wonderful historical fiction book about a family who will tug at your heart. I could relate to Tomi and I felt sad for her when her life changed. I can’t imagine having to go through something like that, and not knowing if her life would ever go back to normal must have been terrifying. I would recommend this book to kids in fourth grade and up who enjoy learning about history. I think a lot of people know about World War II, but so many kids, and I am sure some adults, do not know much about internment camps. We get to see what life was like for a typical family who was forced out of their home and had to live under government supervision. I found myself hoping that good things would come their way and was impressed with their perseverance. We can all learn a lot from history and it is a reminder not to judge people or treat them differently because of their background. I look forward to reading more books about this time in history.
Has anyone else read Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky? Or have you read another book by Sandra Dallas? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Happy Reading! ~L
Happy Reading! ~L