Book review: Paper Wishes, by Lois Sepahban

Sepahban, Lois. Paper Wishes. Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2016. $16.99. ISBN 9780374302160. 181 pgs. Ages 9-12. P7Q8.

Sepahban Paper WishesTen year old Manami lives on Bainbridge Island in Washington. Her Japanese-American family has a nice life there, until they are forced to move to a prison camp in California. Manami tries to sneak her dog, Yujiin (who is beloved by her grandfather), with her, but a soldier forces her to leave the dog behind along the way. The book is a bittersweet story about Manami’s struggle to adapt to the new situation along with her family, and also to cope with the guilt of causing her dog to be lost to her and her grandfather. Manami loses the ability to speak as a result of her guilt and despair. Eventually she begins to draw and sends some of the drawings out with the wind, trying to call Yujiin to her in the camp. The ending isn’t exactly happy, but there is hope that Manami will be able to let go of her guilt and move on. I think this lovely book will be a good addition to my library- Struggling readers will find the length accessible and the topic interesting. I have several young readers in mind for it already.

June 2016 review by Carol Schramm.


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