World War II is over and Mariko and her family are finally allowed to leave the camp. But the transition back into society isn't easy. Mariko's father longs to restart his gardening business, but his
World War II is over and Mariko and her family are finally allowed to leave the camp. But the transition back into society isn't easy. Mariko's father longs to restart his gardening business, but his truck has been stolen. The family moves to a trailer park, where Mariko sees her parents are worried and their spirits are low. She has an idea to create happiness for her family by bringing gardening back into their lives.
Rick Noguchi and Deneen Jenks have written a moving story of how one girl's love and determination lift the spirits of her family. With affecting images of life after the Camps, Michelle Reiko Kumata captures an unforgettable story of hope, love, and perseverance, and plants it in readers' hearts.
View Description for teachers/educators
Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC)
Parents' Choice Noteworthy Product
Grades 1 - 4
Asian/Asian American Interest, Discrimination, Fathers, Historical Interest, Overcoming Obstacles, Sharing & Giving, United States History, War
View Review text
Flowers From Mariko
by School Library Journal
"This is the story of a Japanese-American girl whose family has suffered through three years of internment at a desolate "relocation center" during World War II. When her father returns to California, he finds that his truck has been sold and that their former landlord has disappeared with the proceeds. This sad event, along with the loss of most of their other possessions, means that Mariko's father cannot immediately resume his gardening business. The family settles into a bleak trailer park established for returning internees. Bit by bit they are able to rebuild their lives. The child's father finds some discarded gardening equipment that he can fix and Mariko starts a flower garden that comes to symbolize their rebirth. An author's note provides some brief background that allows children to put the story in context."
Flowers From Mariko
by Publishers Weekly
"Husband-and-wife writing team Noguchi and Jenks plus artist Kumata all make their children's book debuts with this affecting tale with an eerily timely theme. "Just because I look like the enemy doesn't mean I am," insists Mariko, a Japanese-American girl whose family was forced to live in an internment camp after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Now, three years later, as she packs up to leave the camp's barbed-wire boundaries, she watches her father tend to his tiny flower garden in the camp, and remembers accompanying him on his rounds as a gardener before their relocation. Free to go at last, Mariko's father travels to their former home to retrieve his gardening truck, yet returns without it, explaining that their landlord sold the vehicle and moved away. They must take lodging in a trailer park built "for families who didn't have anywhere else to go." The authors create strong imagery with apt metaphors (Mariko hears her worried parents whispering at night, "their words circling the dark rooms like birds without a safe place to land"). Near their trailer, Mariko plants a flower garden, which lifts the spirits of those around her. Kumata's suitably spare, mixed media pictures feature an intriguing array of fabrics and textures. Finally, Mariko's father announces that he has gathered and repaired enough gardening tools to re-launch his business-concluding the story on a hopeful note."
Flowers From Mariko
"A beautifully told story about healing from the wounds of war."
View Biographical note
Rick Noguchi and his wife, Deneen Jenks, are a husband and wife team who live in Culver City, California. Noguchi was formerly an administrator at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles and is currently a Program Manager, at the UCLA Extension Writers' Program. Flowers from Mariko is their first children's book.
Deneen Jenks and her husband, Rick Noguchi, are a husband and wife team who live in Culver City, California. Flowers from Mariko is their first children's book.
Michelle Reiko Kumata was a contributing artist to LEE & LOW's America: A Book of Opposites/Un libro de contrarios. She earned a BFA in illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and has been a staff graphic artist for the SEATTLE TIMES since 1995. She lives in Seattle, Washington.