Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky by Sandra Dallas is an appropriate book for reading just before our country’s Independence Day. It focuses on a Japanese American family during the early part of World War II, when thousands of people of Japanese descent were relocated to special “camps”. The Japanese internment is not someting I remember learning about as a child, and it is a horrible mistake made in our 140 years as a nation. Red Berries is about the discrimination against Japanese, but even more, the main character must come to terms with what it means to be American and if she is happy with her place and the opportunities before her.
Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky did not at first engage me. I did not intend to read it all, and I found myself skimming it at first. But, once Tomi’s father was arrested (for no reason) and her family was uprooted from their home, I felt the pull of curiosity. How could this uniquely American family come out of such an unfair situation positively?
The ultimate result of Tomi’s experience was a positive one. Although her father had been the patriotic one prior to the difficulties, now she needed to step up and help her family, being the example that her father did not feel he could be. I felt the ending, though, was a bit too simplistic and instant. Given the difficulties Tomi’s father was presented with throughout the rest of the book, it did not feel realistic.
The majority of the book was an inspiring and realistic (as far as I know) historical perspective of a unique time in our nation’s history. I wish the entire book at the same energy to keep me or the young reader interested.