Book 27 of my 2016 Reading Challenge
read from March 20 - 21
Dash by Kirby Larson
Summary (via Goodreads)
New from Newbery Honor author Kirby Larson, the moving story of a Japanese-American girl who is separated from her dog upon being sent to an incarceration camp during WWII.
Although Mitsi Kashino and her family are swept up in the wave of anti-Japanese sentiment following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Mitsi never expects to lose her home -- or her beloved dog, Dash. But, as World War II rages and people of Japanese descent are forced into incarceration camps, Mitsi is separated from Dash, her classmates, and life as she knows it. The camp is a crowded and unfamiliar place, whose dusty floors, seemingly endless lines, and barbed wire fences begin to unravel the strong Kashino family ties. With the help of a friendly neighbor back home, Mitsi remains connected to Dash in spite of the hard times, holding on to the hope that the war will end soon and life will return to normal. Though they've lost their home, will the Kashino family also lose their sense of family? And will Mitsi and Dash ever be reunited?
I read this based on the recommendation of my son who is in 5th grade and read it for a 'Battle of the Books' competition.
According to the author's note, the inspiration came from a true story of a woman named Mitsue "Mitsi" Shiraishi who asked if she could bring her dog Cubby to the camp. After finding out she couldn't, her neighbor took the dog in and wrote letters from the dog's perspective until they were reunited a year later when pets were allowed in the camp.
My heart hurt while reading it. These situations always seem cruelest for the children because they have no way of understanding or processing it. It would be difficult to live through but a million times worse to be a parent trying to get your child through it.
A Few Quotes from the Book
"Mitsi stood there shivering and alone, wishing she had packed Dash in her book bag. What happened on December 7 hadn't changed the way he felt about Mitsi. Not one whit. Why couldn't it be the same for people?"
"[Mitsi] wanted to say, "I was born here in Seattle. At Swedish Hospital, just like you, Mags." She wanted to say, "I have brown eyes, just like you, Judy." She wanted to say, "I have never ever been to Japan." But those were things she shouldn't have to say. Not to friends."