Place Where Sunflowers Grow

Place Where Sunflowers Grow

Hardcover(Bilingual English-Japanese)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780892392155
Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Publication date: 07/28/2006
Edition description: Bilingual English-Japanese
Pages: 32
Product dimensions: 9.90(w) x 10.80(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile: AD790L (what's this?)
Age Range: 6 - 8 Years

About the Author

Felicia Hoshinois a graphic designer and an award-winning illustrator of picture books, among them Lee & Low's A Place Where Sunflowers Grow and Little Sap and Monsieur Rodin. In addition to creating mixed-media images for children’s books and magazines, she enjoys painting children’s portraits, cooking with her husband, and decorating the walls at home with art created by her son and daughter. Hoshino lives in San Francisco, California, with her family. Her website is

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Place Where Sunflowers Grow 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
nbmars on LibraryThing 18 days ago
When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, fear and prejudice towards the Japanese reached a fever pitch. These attitudes extended to both citizens and non-citizens of Japanese descent living in the United States.In 1942 Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. Under the terms of the Order, approximately 110,000 people of Japanese descent living in the US were removed from their homes and placed in internment camps. The US justified its' action by claiming that there was a danger of those of Japanese descent spying for the Japanese. However more than two thirds of those interned were American citizens and half of them were children. None had ever shown evidence of disloyalty. The internees were transported to one of ten relocation centers in California, Utah, Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, and Wyoming for up to 4 years, without due process of law or any factual basis, in bleak, remote camps surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards. Families were crammed into 20- by 25-foot rooms and forced to use communal bathrooms. No razors, scissors, or radios were allowed. Children attended War Relocation Authority schools.The story in this book takes place in one of these camps, Topaz, which was located in central Utah, where the weather ranged from over 100 degrees in the summer to below zero in the winter. There were many hardships, but in Topaz, there was also something special. Chiura Obata was an art instructor at the University of California at Berkeley when WWII broke out. He started an art school for internees, and the school, with over 600 students, thrived. Obata left Topaz in 1943 and George Hibi [the author¿s grandfather] took over, explaining how essential the school was thought to be:"Training in art maintains high ideals among our people, for its object is to prevent their minds from remaining on the plains, to encourage human spirits to dwell high above the mountains.¿ In the book, Mari is a little girl who is scared and lonely when her family is abruptly relocated to the camp. She starts art class, and her teacher encourages her to express her feelings. She makes pictures of sunflowers, and simultaneously the desert sunflowers in her mother¿s small garden start to grow in spite of the harsh sun and heat. She also makes a new friend. Mari feels new hope and learns one can survive even in the worst of circumstances.The author based this story on the experiences of her mother and grandparents. Her mother really did plant sunflower seeds, and the flowers grew to the top of the barrack wall. Other internees were cheered by them, and art students used arrangements of them as models.The lovely illustrations by Felicia Hoshino were created with watercolor, ink, tissue paper, and acrylics, and are based in part on the artwork of the grandmother of the author, Hisako Hibi, who was a prominent Japanese American painter, and wife of George Hibi (quoted above).Reading level: Ages 6 and upHardcover: 32 pagesLanguage: English and Japanese (bilingual)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Amy Lee-Tai's award-winner, A Place Where Sunflowers Grow, is a striking departure from typical picture books. Through the story of little Mari, who cannot understand why her family had to leave their home, young readers are given a poignant glimpse of life in a U.S. Japanese American internment camp during World War II. When Mari finds she cannot draw even a single picture in art class, her teacher suggests that she draw something that had made her happy before her family was forced to move to the camp. Reflecting upon the home she had to leave behind, Mari colors a picture of the back yard where she and her brother played on the swing their Papa built, and where the garden was filled with flowers. Sharing her picture with a classmate, Aiko, opens a friendship that blossoms along with the sunflowers Mari planted weeks before. Felicia Hoshino's illustrations are a perfect complement to the story, capturing not only the innocence of childhood, but the harshness of the dreaded camp. Amy Lee-Tai drew upon the experience of her own family in writing A Place Where Sunflowers Grow, sharing with all of us the little known realities of this sad and shameful chapter in American history. For children six and older, this bilingual book should be available in both school and public libraries.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A lovely bilingual picturebook (English/Japanese), A Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy Lee-Tai features illustrations from Felicia Hoshino and is the intimate story of a young girl and her life among thousands of other Japanese American families interned by the government during World War II in the Topaz Relocation Center in Utah. Deftly contributing to a historically ill state of America and their world, A Place Where Sunflowers Grow follows Mari through the beginning of her art classes during the heat of the summer, her discovery of life, her newly found passion for art, and the use of her art to cope with the harsh circumstances of her family's confinement. Inspired by the author's personal life and family history, A Place Where Sunflowers Grow is very highly recommended for all young readers ages 6 to 10, as well school and community librarians seeking to augment their bilingual picturebook collections.