Paper Wishes

Paper Wishes

by Lois Sepahban


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374302160
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 01/05/2016
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 1,237,796
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: 550L (what's this?)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Lois Sepahban lives in Herrodsburg, Kentucky, where she writes children's nonfiction books for the school library market. Paper Wishes is her first novel.

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Paper Wishes 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
MarisaR More than 1 year ago
I finished reading this beautiful book through tears. The sparse language and gorgeous writing is powerful in this setting and lends itself to the telling of Manami's heartbreaking (yet hopeful) story. I held onto the love her family shared in the same way Manami did and my heart broke for her as she grappled with her own internal guilt and attempts to understand what was happening and why. PAPER WISHES takes a thoughtful and well-researched look at this disgraceful time in U.S. history and it is for this reason that I hope it will find its way into many classrooms. PAPER WISHES is so deserving of all the wonderful praise it has earned and I anticipate great things for this book. I give it my highest recommendation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so beautifully written and although it's premise spotlights such a sad time in history, it's focus on Manami and her family makes it hopeful as well. I can't even explain what it was that kept me diving back in each time I sat down, it was just a story that had to be read and Manami was a character I wanted to get to know. There is also a lot of insight into what it was like in these camps and what life became for the families who were there. A great read that could definitely be used as part of a Social Studies unit in schools.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a beautiful book. With all the praise already circulating for PAPER WISHES, I had high expectations. My expectations were exceeded. Manami's story is painful, but it is impeccably executed. The author masterfully employs imagery, metaphor, and word manipulation and repetition to great effect. She immerses the reader in a strong first person narrative, thereby disallowing objective detachment from the realities of our history of Japanese internment. The result is deeply affecting. In my view, the greatest triumph here is that the story is appropriate and accessible to the age group for which it is targeted. Before reading, I questioned whether this was a book I would hand my children. It is. In fact, while sad and difficult, the book is an invitation to a young reader to consider our history from a personal lens. Making history personal is one way we help ensure it does not repeat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Paper Wishes is absolutely stunning from beginning to end. It's a beautifully told story that is both heartbreaking and hopeful, dealing with one of the most shameful periods of U.S. history in a careful, thoughtful, well-researched manner. It's also a story about a family--loving, complicated, and so very real--trying to do everything they can to continue to survive in country that is treating them so poorly, and a young girl searching for ways to understand a world that has been turned upside down. The writing is wonderful, sometimes stark, sometimes poetic, always clear and beautiful. Very highly recommended!
Kathy MacMillan More than 1 year ago
How could you possibly handle the subject of the relocation camps that imprisoned thousands of Japanese-Americans during World War II in a way that children can understand, without it become bleak or hopeless? Yet Sepahban manages it with quiet grace, giving us the story of Manami, a 10-year-old girl who is imprisoned with her family in the California desert. Traumatized by the experience and fiercely missing the dog she was forced to leave behind, Manami refuses to speak, grieving even as her family members find a place in the society of the camp. Sepahan doesn't focus on politics or wars - the only details of that are in her concise and informative author's note - but Manami's narration, so lithe and lyrical that it stops just short of verse, places the reader in the camp beside her, offering a visceral sense of place and time that all the facts in the world could not convey. This is a beautiful book that sheds light on a shameful part of America's past.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a 9-12 year old, I couldn't read enough historical fiction set during World War II. I'm not sure what it was about that era, or if maybe there was just a ton of historical fiction output during my formative years set during WWII, but it became a time period that fascinated me, as heartbreaking and challenging as it must have been for so many at the time. Publishing moves through cycles and it seems that historical fiction it not so trendy these days, as I feel like I see fewer and fewer historical fiction books in the New Books section at the bookstore. It's a shame because these books are so necessary if we wish to learn from history. They help us better understand where we came from, and how those events have shaped today. PAPER WISHES begins with a girl and her dog Yujiin and her grandfather. Born on Bainbridge Island off the coast of Washington state, Manami knows only her peaceful, rural, seaside home, where she lives with her parents and grandfather, her two older siblings off to college in the Midwest. But everything changes one day at school. Whispered rumors. And returning home to learn from her parents, with little explanation, that she and her family have no choice but to leave. Along with all of the other Japanese-Americans, they are sent to the mainland and then further inland, to an internment camp, where they are housed in barracks, regarded with suspicion. In the process, Manami is forcibly parted with Yujiin, who she was supposed to leave behind, but who she sneaks along for the journey. The other parting is Manami's choice. In the moment and the days that follow, she loses her voice. Sepahban's spare, poetic, and economical prose is perfectly suited to this story and this age group. Chapter breaks mark each month as time marches on in the internment camp, where everything is parched and Manami, quieted. Her heartbreak over the loss of Yujiin is palpable, and will move many readers, child and adult alike, but its her eventual recovery that got the tears to spill over for me. PAPER WISHES couldn't be more timely or necessary, with a current presidential candidate with a unforgivable and deep misunderstanding of Executive Order 9066. My nephew, himself Japanese-American and close in age to Manami, was asking me the other day about good guys and bad guys, asking for confirmation that "bad guys" aren't real . . . they're just in the movies. I didn't know how to answer -- the question was so big and I'm not his parent -- but I told him, "real bad guys usually don't look like the ones in the movies." PAPER WISHES, already the recipient of two starred reviews, has been lauded with so much love, but I have to give it a little more. You can't say this about every book, and of course, it depends a bit on the reader, but this book is *important*. I can't think of a better choice for classroom read-alouds. Many, many children will learn and experience so much from this book, without ever feeling like they are being taught.
KidlitFan2016 More than 1 year ago
Everything about this gorgeous, lyrical, heartbreaking story is a work of art -- starting with the spare yet evocative cover. Like the main character Manami, Lois Sepahban draws a moving picture of grief, resilience, and ultimately strength. As Manami's family is grieving the loss of her grandmother, a small white dog appears as they are walking on the beach one day. Little Yujiin becomes a member of their family, offering Manami and her grandfather comfort and hope. But when the family is forced to leave their home and go to a relocation camp, in a fit of desperation, Manami clings to Yujiin. As she is powerless to prevent Yujiin from being ripped away from her, she loses that comfort and hope -- along with her voice. PAPER WISHES is a close-up portrait of Manami and her family, at the same time a big picture of the wider Japanese American community during World War II. With sparse, beautiful language and meaningful detail, the author allows us to experience layers of emotion in small moments of beauty like a quiet tea ceremony, as well as long struggles of resilience such as the family's ongoing commitment to tending a garden in the desert. As with any evocative piece of art, PAPER WISHES is one you can't spend enough time with, inspires you to think, and widens your world. Book groups and classrooms will find endless ways to discuss this gorgeous story. Highly recommend.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with the concept of this novel, the synopsis was sweet and enduring and the cover with its offsetting tones and its contrasting colors lured me in. As I read, I found that the novel touches lightly on the subject matter; the text didn’t pound out the harsh reality of the events that were being playing out nor were there the emotional uproars that typically accompany this subject matter. Knowing this, I realize that this would be a great novel for young readers and readers who want to bring their own knowledge into the story. The story centers on Manami who is Japanese American during WWII. Many families like Manami’s were shuffled around during this time period into camps in the U.S., where they had to constantly rebuild their lives. This novel opened my eyes to the situation that these individuals faced on a daily basis all because of fear and the unknown. Bringing only what they could carry, these families really knew what was important to them. The turning point for Manami is when she is forced to abandon her dog along on their journey to their new base. She’s done, she’s lost her hope and she’s lost her song. Manami can no longer speak; life is just too much right now. She just wants normalcy. Living with hundreds of families in a prison-like setting, seeing her family change and every day adjusting to life where someone else is in control is a hard life to live. The hundreds of wishes that she has placed on paper and released into the air to locate Yujiin, are not finding their way to her lost dog. These messages have worked in the past for other wishes but now something is wrong. Where is normalcy? As the months pass, the war affects her home life and her life at school and she is silent yet her actions and her thoughts tell the story. The silence of her voice tells a powerful message yet I wondered how the novel would have been had she talked. She had a way of projecting herself and perhaps her voice might have made a difference. It’s unsettling to think that no one took the time to talk to Manami, to tell her how the world was shifting. I realize she was young but she needed to know. Thank you NetGalley and Macmillian Children’s Publishing Group for providing me a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.