Monday, May 26, 2014


Memorial Day originated after the Civil War and is celebrated every year on the last Monday in May. It is a remembrance of all the military men and women who have died  serving our country. But this Memorial Day, I want to help  people remember those Americans who were wrongly treated during the onslaught of World War II. They were not spies, they were not traitors, they were not sympathetic to the other side. Their only crime was the simple fact that they were of Japanese decent.

What made me think of this was a book that the children's librarian at Marvin Memorial Library, in my home town of Shelby, recently purchased. A beautiful book called A Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy Lee-Tai. It is the story of a Japanese family of artists who were taken from their happy California home and were forced to spend three years in an Internment camp in the Utah desert.

Based on actual events that Miss Lee-Tai's Grandmother experienced, this story is a beautiful testament of human courage and hope. The illustrations by Felicia Hoshino add dimension to this tale, but most interesting of all is the fact that it is written in both English and Japanese.

A Place Where Sunflowers Grow

If you want children to have a real interest in history, a real interest in the plight of others, a real interest in what it would be like to be unfairly taken from everything you've ever known, then this book is a must add to your reading list.

Something even more amazing then my enjoyment of this book occurred this past week as I was shuttling third graders to the YMCA for swimming. I happened to take this book along with me to read while I waited, and on the way home, one of the boys who was riding with me asked about it. I had wedged the book between his seat and the middle console and he curiously pulled it out to investigate. I told him a little about the story, and much to my surprise, he began to read. When we arrived back at school, he wanted to sit in the car a moment longer so he could finish the last page.

So not only do you have my word that this book is an extraordinary read, you also have the opinion of a third grade boy who saw past the girl on the cover and let himself  relive a bit of  history.

The Boy in The Back Who Dared To Read!

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, and my soon to be released sequel, Return To Fern Valley, coming summer of 2014! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.


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