Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban

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Snow Day!  The picture above was taken by one of Inly’s Middle School students who clearly has a good eye for capturing the magic of snow covered trees. I haven’t ventured outside yet, but I read something sad and beautiful this morning – Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban. If we can get back to school tomorrow, I will recommend Sepahban’s debut novel to the Library “regulars” who are always looking for new books to read.

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As Paper Wishes opens, ten-year-old Manami lives an idyllic life with her parents and grandfather on Bainbridge Island in Washington. But it’s 1942, and Manami and her family are Japanese. Three months before the book opens, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and now they are being forced to leave their home and move to Manzanar, an internment camp in California.

Before leaving their home, an arrangement was made for a family friend to care for Yujiin, Manami’s beloved dog. Brokenhearted about leaving her dog behind, Manami impulsively hides Yujiin under her coat as the family leaves, but a soldier sees the little dog and forces the family to leave him in a crate.  Manami, overcome by sadness and guilt, stops speaking.

While her family struggles to make their new lives as comfortable as possible, Manami finds it impossible to speak – or to forget Yujiin. Her “paper wishes” are the drawings she throws into the wind – manifestations of her hope that somehow, Yujiin will find her.

Through the care and love of her grandfather and a teacher who, understanding Manami’s need to express her feelings, provides her young student with paper and pencils. Paper Wishes is a lovely and quiet book about a girl who feels pain, but ultimately finds her way through it and regains her voice.

 

 

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