Author: Sepahban, Lois
Reading Grade: 3.8
A moving debut middle-grade novel about a girl whose family is relocated to a Japanese internment camp during World War II—and the dog she has to leave behind.
Ten-year-old Manami did not realize how peaceful her family's life on Bainbridge Island was until the day it all changed. It's 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Manami and her family are Japanese American, which means that the government says they must leave their home by the sea and join other Japanese Americans at a prison camp in the desert. Manami is sad to go, but even worse is that they are going to have to give her and her grandfather's dog, Yujiin, to a neighbor to take care of. Manami decides to sneak Yujiin under her coat and gets as far as the mainland before she is caught and forced to abandon Yujiin. She and her grandfather are devastated, but Manami clings to the hope that somehow Yujiin will find his way to the camp and make her family whole again. It isn't until she finds a way to let go of her guilt that Manami can reclaim the piece of herself that she left behind and accept all that has happened to her family.
Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban is a heartrending middle-grade novel and piece of historical fiction set during World War II about love, longing, and a girl who finally finds her voice.
"It’s a novel that stays, bravely, in that place of pain, making clear that scars will be left behind not only for the children whose families were incarcerated, but also for the generations that follow. And yet, although the tone is sober and sad, it’s also a novel in which a mute child finds her voice, at last." —The New York Times