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A Jar of Dreams

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  480 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
Growing up in California during the depression isn't easy for eleven-year-old Rinko. She desperately wants to fit in and be like everyone else, but instead she is ridiculed and made to feel different because she is Japanese.

But when Aunt Waka comes to visit, and brings with her the old-fashioned wisdom of Japan, she teaches Rinko the importance of her Japanese heritage, a

Paperback, 144 pages
Published April 30th 1993 by Aladdin (first published 1981)
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Nov 08, 2016 Jessaka rated it liked it
Shelves: children-preteen
What a sweet book. Slow in the beginning, but then it picked up and became a winner.

A young Japanese girl named Rinko lives in Berkeley, CA during the depression years of 1935. She is mocked at school, her family is having a hard time making ends meet, people want them to go back home to Japan, they are threatened, and her aunt is coming from Japan to visit them. This is a visit that will change their lives.

This book has a good lesson for children to learn. And I have yet another one to teach:
Jessica Salgado
Apr 19, 2012 Jessica Salgado rated it it was amazing
I read this book in 2 day it was such a sweet story!
The book is about a Japanese girl named Rinko and her family. The book takes place during the great depression and at that time Japanese would get a lot of hate. The book tells the story of what it feels like to be an immigrant in the US and how people look down on the minorities. So one day Rinkos mom gets a letter from her sister in Japan. Aunt Waka is coming to visit Rinko's family. Aunt Waka's visit changed the lives of every person in the
Teri Weaver
Feb 01, 2010 Teri Weaver rated it it was amazing
Shelves: asian-american
I was surprised to discover what a lovely story this book contains. The main character is a young girl named Rinko who lives in Berkeley, California with her family and visiting aunt from Japan. Early on in the story it becomes readily apparent how Rinko feels about herself and her Japanese culture. She feels different and wishes that she “could be like everybody else.” She painfully discloses how other children hurt her not only with words—but by talking “over, around and right through me like ...more
Dec 30, 2015 Zaki rated it really liked it
This book is about a Japanese girl named Rinko who is living in California during the 1930's. At this time, there was much bias and discrimination against the Japanese and it didn't help Rinko since as she grew up, she wasn't so comfortable with coming from the Japanese culture. However, she learned to get over that when her Aunt Waka arrived for a visit. She taught her niece to accept who she is and to not care when someone else criticizes or judges her culture due to some close-minded ...more
Erica Pak
A Jar of Dreams is written by Yoshiko Uchida. This book is a tale about a little girl that lives in California during the depression. During this time Rinko suffers from being a Japanese girl that just wants to fit in. Due to the events that took place Rinko is ridiculed and made fun of to feel different from her other peers. However she receives a visit from her Aunt from Japan and it taught and explained the importance of her Japanese heritage and background.

This book shows the hardship that a
Xiao Wen
Jan 22, 2012 Xiao Wen rated it liked it
Shelves: 10th-grade
The most obvious theme in this book is discrimination, which is about a Japanese girl gets treated like an outcast in California, People see her as an outcast because of her race. I really do not like this situation to happen because I do not think race is the aspect to think of when you make friends. For me, race is just a characteristic of a person, it does not mean anything, what I mean is also included what race has a higher value in the society or what race is the lower class. I do not ...more
Mar 05, 2012 Jeymi rated it it was amazing
for me it was one of the best stories that i have read because the same story happen to me i came from El Salvador 3 years ago it was hard for me because to read everything i did not knew anything so i like this story A Jar of Dreams and now i know everything i need to know that is why i like this story.
Karen Gibson
A good historical fiction of the Japanese experience in the US told from a young girls point of view.
May 03, 2010 Chrisjohnson rated it it was amazing
A really touching and good book.
Dec 03, 2016 Tanja rated it really liked it
Touching historical fiction that will give young readers much to ponder and talk about. Younger readers will benefit from a heads-up regarding the historical setting (especially some of the derogatory language used), the prejudices and cruelty. A wonderful tale about accepting and celebrating who you are are and where you come from.
Laura Verret
Nov 01, 2013 Laura Verret rated it it was ok
All her life, Rinko Tsujimura has been different. Mostly it’s been the fact that she’s a Japanese immigrant to America and looks so different from everyone else. At school, the kids tease her, ignore her, or laugh at her. But hey, at least Mrs. Sugar next door loves her.

When Rinko returns home from school one day, she receives a surprise – her Aunt Waka is coming all the way from Japan to visit them in California. At first, Rinko’s not sure it’s a happy surprise – it means she’ll have to give up
Wan Yu( Stephanie)
Rinko is a Janpanese girl that grew up in California during the depression. She longed for equal and be the same as everyone else, unfortunally, she failed because she is a Janpanese, she is differnt race from others. Little Rinko started to lose confidences as people ignored her. She never realizes her aunt Waka's visit can make such a huge change in her life. Aunt Waka taught Rinko the tradition of the Janpanese and how helps Rinko to value herself. I get angry when others judge people based ...more
Andrew Foster
Mar 07, 2012 Andrew Foster rated it really liked it
Grade Level: 3rd to 5th

The premise of the book is simple; a young Japanese girl living in America during the Great Depression. Her aunt from Japan comes to visit and changes Rinko's view on her situation. Through trials and tribulations, Rinko begins to believe in herself as a young Japanese girl that can be anything she wants in America.

The book provides a good theme of overcoming diversity and believing in oneself to be a great person. Regardless of the main characters ethnicity, this book ca
Sandra Stiles
Aug 03, 2010 Sandra Stiles rated it really liked it
Rinko is growing up in 1935 California. She believes that America is supposed to be the land of the free. However, she doesn't feel like she belongs here even if she was born here. She is not proud of her Japanese heritage because kids at school make fun of her, call her names and make her feel like an outsider. Then her Aunt Waka comes to spend the summer with her. It is her aunt who makes her father stand up to a bully, and decide to sell his business and start the business that he has always ...more
Jun 28, 2011 Chinglam rated it it was amazing
This book is about a girl called Rinko, and mainly about the dreams she had, and also her family members. As day after day passed, she hoped that someday she would be a teacher, and wished that her family would also achieve their dream. Her brother's dream was to be a expert at mechanics, her dad's dream was to have his own barber shop, and her mother dreamed that she could have a laundry shop of her own. The only problem was that they were poor, and they were Japanese. It didn't seem a problem ...more
Marissa Morrison
Apr 18, 2016 Marissa Morrison rated it it was amazing
My fifth-grade students enjoyed this book. It is a good entryway into discussing prejudice. The prejudice here is not subtle. A Japanese family can't get a loan at a bank to start a business, they get called "Jap" by people who don't let them into a public swimming pool, someone kills their dog, and as a result they end up doing things like picnicking behind bushes in the park so no one will notice their chopsticks.

A visiting aunt from Japan encourages all the family members to pursue their ind
Jan 18, 2013 Tarissa rated it it was amazing
I was impressed with the story I found in this book. Before reading it, I wasn't expecting such a dramatic story. Now that it is over, I wish there was a sequel!

Rinko is a young, Japanese girl. She lives in California with her parents and two brothers. There are two important parts of American History that are hurting Rinko's life. First, it's the Depression, and lack of money. Secondly, and more painful to Rinko: it's how the Japanese are hated among people.

This summertime story brings out and
I purchased a class-set of this book for our unit on immigration. This book is about Rinko, a Japanese-American girl growing up in California during the Depression. She faces discrimination (and her family even experiences hate crimes) because she is Japanese. At the beginning of the story, Rinko just wants to fit in, but by the end of the book, Rinko learns that there is beauty in embracing all parts of herself, even the part of her that is Japanese.

I look forward to reading this with my studen
Sep 25, 2008 Margaret rated it liked it
I just read this with my 5th graders. A Japanese-American girl learns to take pride in herself and her heritage in a time when immigrants were hated for taking American jobs (has anything changed?). I couldn't help looking around the table at the children reading the book. What a cultural mix we have in our school - children from Turkey, Russia, Mexico, Sudan, Burma, Iraq, Somalia, Native American, South American... (the list goes on and on).
Each is unique, each is precious. If only we could see
Linda Costello
Nov 18, 2010 Linda Costello rated it liked it
Shelves: social-studies
I enjoyed this book which was set during the great depression. It explores the prejudice which Japanese-Americans faced at that time and would be great for discussing the climate which led to the internment camps of WWII. I think an interesting connection students could make to this book would be to investigate families who came through Angel Island or Ellis Island. Do the students have any immigration stories of their own? They could write a narrative about what it is like to be new to America.
Sep 23, 2015 Shirleen rated it really liked it
Story of prejudice and hope as told through the eyes of Rinko, a Japanese girl growing up in Berkeley CA during the depression years. Rinko learns to overcome her feelings of inadequacy because she is different in looks and culture from the other children at her school and people in her neighborhood. She learns, through her relatives, that she can dream big, and that these big dreams can come true.
May 20, 2012 Erica rated it it was amazing
Although not much happens in Berkeley over the summer that Rinko is 12 years old, her descriptions of her Japanese American family during the Depression is captivating. Dealing with daily prejudice at school, and occasional threats to her family from an angry bigot over the summer, she tends to withdraw and try to blend in - until her Aunt visits from Japan, and her father stands up to the bully. After that, Rinko has a new outlook on her position and her hopes for the future.
It's a really beautiful story, though for all the focus on how much of a difference Aunt Waka made, you really don't get a lot of private time with her. She's a figure in the background, ushering change and nurturing dreams.

I also appreciate the way in which Uchida addresses racism and feelings of inadequacy. I'd definitely bring this into a classroom.
Alex Rojas
11 year old Rinko was growing up In California , it was hard for her because she was Japanese , lots of kids bullied him. but when her aunt Waka came to visit her she taught Rinko some Japanese heritage. I liked this story because it has a lot of drama and a little mystery , so I recommend this book to anyone that is reading this review (:!
Sella Malin
Feb 20, 2008 Sella Malin rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who like historical fiction
this is a good book. yoshiko uchida is a great historical fiction writer. she writes about historical things that are interesting and go with the story well. i enjoy all her books. this one is about believing in yourself and following your dreams. the title refers to opening the sealed jar of dreams that you may have and letting them free. anyone who enjoys historical fiction should read it.
Feb 23, 2016 Marika rated it really liked it
This was a really sweet story. Many children might struggle with the time period in which it is set. A Jar of Dreams perhaps does a poorer job of keeping a story set in the past seem relatable to current readers than many books do; however, the right reader could truly appreciate this story. It has a compelling narrative and well developed unique characters. I personally greatly enjoyed it.
May 06, 2015 Nora rated it it was amazing
Read this book with 4 4th grade girls and they loved it! the book was easy enough for them to access while also being historically accurate to what it was like to be a Japanese American in the times leading up to the 2nd world war.
Nov 29, 2010 Sephire rated it really liked it
Shelves: social-studies
This is a great book about an Asian American family that immigrated to the country and are working to become like other American citizens. They are targeted by other Americans who do not believe they should be here. This is a good book to use when learning about immigration.
May 29, 2008 Mom rated it really liked it
An eye-opening story about Japanese-Americans who have to deal with harsh treatment from white Americans. They learn to stand up for themselves. It was an inspiring story and would be great for children from the Far East who come to live in America.
Feb 16, 2014 Patty rated it really liked it
A sweet story about growing up between two cultures as a "hyphenated" American, in this case, Japanese-American, in post World War II, and how an outsider, an aunt visiting from Japan, gave the family strength to stand strong in the midst of discrimination and flourish by working together.
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Yoshiko, born on November 24, 1921, was the second daughter of Japanese immigrant parents Takashi and Iku. Her father worked as a businessman for Mitsui and Company in San Francisco, and Iku wrote poetry, passing along her love of literature to her girls. Though the Great Depression raged, the Uchida family enjoyed comforts because of Takashi's well-paying job and their own frugality. Yoshiko ...more
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