Monday, December 15, 2014


Twelve year old Tomi Itano sees herself as a proud Japanese-American even though she has never been to Japan nor speaks Japanese. In 1941, the year the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and it is this very event that changes Tomi’s perspective on life.  Tomi and her family must endure unimaginable racist attitudes from their fellow non-Japanese Americans who now view them as the enemy. Tomi starts to see the hurtful store front signs that read “No Japs Allowed.”  She is even no longer welcomed as part of her beloved Girls Scouts.  To make matters even more unbearable, Tomi’s father is suspected of being a spy and is arrested and sent to an internment camp in New Mexico.  It did not take long for Tomi, her mother, and her brothers to be evacuated from their home and sent to the internment camp in Tallgrass, Colorado.

As the family is forced to relocate Tomi’s mother becomes worried about their strawberry fields. She also becomes bitter as the family is close to losing everything they own. Selling their belongings for very cheap is too painful; she even breaks her washing machine because the thought of selling it for a quarter proves unbearable.  As the family transitions from their home-life to camp-life, they try to establish a “normal” life by going to school and making friends. As time passes, life at the camp gives Tomi a chance to reflect on how she really feels about the way others treated her because of her nationality.

Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky by Sandra Dallas is a touching story about a young girl during the 1940’s. Readers will be introduced to a terrible event that occurred in America and the toll it took on one particular family.   

For readers in 5th grade and up.

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