Canadian Children's Book Centre's Reviews > When the Cherry Blossoms Fell: A Cherry Blossom Book

When the Cherry Blossoms Fell by Jennifer Maruno
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Feb 07, 12

Reviewed by Sandra O’Brien

It’s March 1942 and Michiko Minagawa is about to turn nine. Her father, who has never missed her birthday, is late coming home. Then her mother receives a phone call telling her that Michiko’s father has been put in jail. When he returns home, he tells his family that all Japanese men have been ordered out of Vancouver and he is being sent to work in the mountains. Shortly thereafter Michiko and the rest of her family join hundreds of other Japanese-Canadians as they are forced by the government to move to the interior of British Columbia. Life in the interior is harsh for the Minagawa family. They have had to leave most of their possessions behind and their living conditions are far from easy. The family is befriended by Mrs. Morrison who helps Michiko enroll in school in the nearby town. But Michiko quickly learns that not all people are kind and faces prejudice in her new school setting. Confused and afraid, she becomes friends with Clarence who helps her find her voice to stand up to the town bully, George. The story ends as Michiko’s family is reunited and they begin to rebuild their lives. In When the Cherry Blossoms Fell, Jennifer Maruno tells an endearing story about the relocation experience of one
Japanese-Canadian family and how a little girl finds the courage to fight the prejudice with which she is faced. Maruno’s first few introductory chapters could be more concise, but as the story progresses it flows more smoothly. The Japanese vocabulary may be a slight distraction for less
proficient readers as they flip back and forth to the glossary to gain meaning, but also provides an opportunity to learn more about Japanese culture. All in all, an enjoyable read!

Canadian Children's Book News (Fall 2009, Vol. 32, No. 4)

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