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A Place to Belong



by
Cynthia Kadohata
illustrated by
Julia Kuo

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Simon & Schuster
Imprint
Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy
ISBN
9781481446648

Awards and Honors
2019 National Book Award Longlist
Kirkus Best Books - 2019
Horn Book Fanfare - 2019
CPL Best Books - 2019
CSMCL Best Books - 2019
Freeman Book Award Young Adult/Middle School Literature 2019 Winner
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Violence: War/Harsh Realities of War, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism
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World War II is finally over and twelve-year-old Hanako and her family are at last freed from the Japanese-American internment camp where they were forced to spend the last four years. Though they had nothing to do with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, or the war at all, they’d still been forced to live behind a barbed wire fence like prisoners, simply because they were Japanese. Feeling betrayed and unwanted, Hanako’s parents decide to give up their American citizenship and sail across the Pacific to Japan, Hiroshima specifically, where her grandparents live. Perhaps there they would find that now missing feeling of home.
But post-war Hiroshima is not the cherry blossom dream that Hanako had hoped for. The city has been decimated by an atomic bomb, and the repercussions still smolder. Countless orphans beg door to door, hundreds of thousands of people are starving, and American Hanako now reels in shock at what her family, and the people of Hiroshima, face. Despite everything her family begins to do to help staunch the suffering they see around them, Hanako feels more in limbo, more unwanted, than ever before, because here she is American, and the Americans had dropped the bomb in the first place. In the ashes of a war-torn world, she must forge her own identity, a bridge between the hyphen between her cultures, in order to find her heart’s true home as a Japanese-American.

Afterword. Black-and-white digital illustrations.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Violence: War/Harsh Realities of War, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

416

Trim Size

7 2/3" x 5"

Dewey

[Fic]

AR

4.6: points 11

Lexile

690L

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

19

JLG Release

Sep 2019

Book Genres


Topics

Emigration and immigration. Immigrants. Belonging. Identity. Japanese Americans. Bombardment of Hiroshima, Japan (1945). History of Japan, 1945–1989. Emotions and feelings. Family life. Grandparents and grandchildren. Japanese internment during World War II.

Standard MARC Records

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*, Booklist*, Kirkus Reviews*, The Horn Book Magazine*

School Library Journal

World War II has ended and 12-year-old Hanako, her five-year old brother Akira, and their American-born parents have spent the past four years imprisoned in a series of internment camps. Hana’s parents accept an offer from the U.S. government to renounce their American citizenship and expatriate to Japan. Their plan is to live with Hanako’s father’s parents, poor tenant farmers outside the city of Hiroshima. Hanako is hopeful for her family’s new chance in Japan and immediately loves her Jiichan and Baachan but is faced with the realities of life in an unfamiliar, war-blighted country. Resources are scarce; as her family toils endlessly to keep food in the house, Hanako is torn between providing for her family and sharing what little she has with the people she encounters around Hiroshima. In her trademark style, Kadohata unfurls the complex web of the girl’s inner thoughts in a concise yet cutting third-person narrative. Hanako attempts to discern what it means to be good and how to belong in a place where one is not truly welcome. An afterword gives further details on the history of internment and expatriate Americans in Japan. A first purchase for collections needing complex and emotionally impactful historical fiction.

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

World War II has ended and 12-year-old Hanako, her five-year old brother Akira, and their American-born parents have spent the past four years imprisoned in a series of internment camps. Hana’s parents accept an offer from the U.S. government to renounce their American citizenship and expatriate to Japan. Their plan is to live with Hanako’s father’s parents, poor tenant farmers outside the city of Hiroshima. Hanako is hopeful for her family’s new chance in Japan and immediately loves her Jiichan and Baachan but is faced with the realities of life in an unfamiliar, war-blighted country. Resources are scarce; as her family toils endlessly to keep food in the house, Hanako is torn between providing for her family and sharing what little she has with the people she encounters around Hiroshima. In her trademark style, Kadohata unfurls the complex web of the girl’s inner thoughts in a concise yet cutting third-person narrative. Hanako attempts to discern what it means to be good and how to belong in a place where one is not truly welcome. An afterword gives further details on the history of internment and expatriate Americans in Japan. A first purchase for collections needing complex and emotionally impactful historical fiction.

Grades 5-8
Realistic Fiction Middle Plus
For Grades 5-8

Stories with strong, relatable characters that portray believable contemporary or historical real-life experiences.

14 books per Year
$235.90 per Year
Interests
Chapter Books/Novels,Diversity,Fiction,History,Realistic Fiction
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Grades 5-8
Realistic Fiction Middle Plus
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$235.90 per Year

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