In this bittersweet story set in the United States during 1942 and World War II, 10-year-old Manami—a Japanese-American girl—endures evacuation and internment at the dessert camp of Manzanar. Forced to leave Bainbridge Island with her family, she must abandon her beloved dog and settle in a harsh new environment.
The author writes in poetic prose of the heat, drought, crowding, and awful food. Poor Manami becomes mute due to the hardships, but she sends colorful letters (paper wishes) on the wind in hopes of better times.
This powerful story is a testament to bravery and fortitude. It is a touching and finely-executed glimpse into a difficult period in American history. Told in a simplistic style, this book would be a wonderful read for even younger middle graders.