Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The haunting immediacy of this moving tale may derive from its roots in Uchida's ( A Jar of Dreams ; The Best Bad Thing ) own childhood experiences--the author was interned in camps for Japanese Americans during WW II. Originally published as a short story, the book opens as Emi, her mother and sister prepare to leave their California home for a new residence: a racetrack that has been turned into a prison camp. Emi's best friend brings her a bracelet as a parting gift. Though Emi vows she will never take it off, the gold chain slips off her wrist as the girl helps clean out the filthy, abandoned stable that will serve as the family's ``apartment.'' After searching for it in vain, Emi eventually realizes that she does not need the bracelet to remember her friend, just as she does not need a photo to remember her father (who has been sent to a prisoner-of-war camp because he worked for a Japanese company); in her mother's words, such important parts of our lives ``we carry in our hearts and take with us no matter where we are sent.'' Yardley's ( The Red Ball ) hushed, realistic paintings add to the poignancy of Uchida's narrative, and help to underscore the absurdity and injustice suffered by Japanese American families such as Emi's. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
This picture book is based on the author's experience in a West Coast internment camp. The image-laden book tells of Emi, a young Japanese girl, whose Anglo friend gives her a heart bracelet so that she can remember their friendship in the camp. When Emi reaches the filthy horse stall that's to be her home, she discovers the bracelet is missing, and temporarily crumbles. Soon though, Emi's emptiness is filled with memories of her friend. She realizes the bracelet and memories are "things we carry in our hearts and take with us no matter where we are sent."
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Before Emi and her family leave for the relocation center at Tanforan, her friend Laurie gives her a bracelet, a symbol of their friendship. When Emi loses it, she is certain that she has lost her friend, too, but she soon discovers that her memories will always remain in her heart. Yoshiko Uchida's The Bracelet is a poignant story sensitively told and illustrated. Although Ms. Uchida died last year, she left a rich legacy of stories about her life and her heritage.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-It is 1942, and seven-year-old Emi is being sent from her home in Berkeley, California, to an internment camp with her mother and older sister. Her father was arrested earlier and incarcerated in a camp in Montana. Temporarily herded into stables at a race track with other Japanese-American families, Emi realizes that she has lost the bracelet that her best friend, Laurie Madison, gave her as a parting keepsake. At first desolate, she soon realizes that she does not need the token after all, as she will always carry Laurie in her heart and mind. Uchida employs a simple, descriptive style, allowing the child's feelings to give punch to this vignette without becoming sentimental. An afterword gives brief, dignified historical context to the story. Yardley's watercolor illustrations both match and amplify the text at every point, evincing the greatest sensitivity to the depiction of character and to historical accuracy. This deceptively simple picture book will find a ready readership and prove indispensable for introducing this dark episode in American history.-John Philbrook, San Francisco Public Library