By Koko Kawashima Watkins
This novel was my favorite of the pair with Year of Impossible Goodbyes. From the start I was engaged--when Yoko's mother was pulling her by ties around her hands. I could not imagine what it would be like to live in a war zone. I felt that Yoko was a very brave young girl, and do not think that I could have been so courageous in the same situation. I could not image being forced to leave my home. It made me realize that as long as I had my family, I would get over the physical belongings that I would have to leave behind. I felt that there were so many setbacks in such a short amount of time for Yoko's family that I do not know how they were able to cope. I think that I would definitely use this book in my classroom if I teach upper elementary. A lot of important discussions could be started from this book such as WWII, refugees, struggle and triumph, and the history/culture of Japan and Korea.