“When her family is forced into an internment camp, Mitsi Kashino is separated from her home, her classmates, and her beloved dog Dash; and as her family begins to come apart around her, Mitsi clings to her one connection to the outer world–the letters from the kindly neighbor who is caring for Dash.”
This is a terrible chapter in American history but more important than ever that we examine it truthfully. This book does a good job of presenting a hard time for our country in a realistic context while still being age appropriate.
At first Mitsi notices how her friends at school react differently to her after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Then, as she realizes the enormity of the situation her family faces, she worries what will happen to her beloved pet. A older (white) neighbor she’s been helpful to offers to take the dog in during the duration of the internment.
Mitsi is so fired up she actually writes to General DeWitt and while he refuses her request to allow pets, some time later during this extended internment of American citizens of Japanese descent, he relents and begins allowing pets into the camps.
Once in the camps (the stay at more than one during the course of the novel) she becomes just as concerned with what she sees as the disintegration of her family. Her older brother begins running with some questionable characters and she misses their family meals.
She makes new friends and there are many eye-opening details about life in this situation. It’s followed up by a fascinating author’s note about how this all came together and her sources of inspiration.
Read as part of our district’s Reader’s Rally quiz bowl challenge.