Cynthia Kadohata



Cynthia Kadohata
Atheneum, 2006
hardcover: 978-0689865749

What the Book's About

“How could such a tragedy have occurred in a democratic society that prides itself on individual rights and freedoms?” (Milton S. Eisenhower)

Twelve-year-old Sumiko feels her life has been made up of two parts: before Pearl Harbor and after it. The good part and the bad part. Raised on a flower farm in California, Sumiko is used to being the only Japanese girl in her class. Even when the other kids tease her, she always has had her flowers and family to go home to.

That all changes after the horrific events of Pearl Harbor. Other Americans start to suspect that all Japanese people are spies for the emperor, even if, like Sumiko, they were born in the United States! As suspicions grow, Sumiko and her family find themselves being shipped to an internment camp in one of the hottest deserts in the United States. The vivid color of her previous life is gone forever, and now dust storms regularly choke the sky and seep into every crack of the military barrack that is her new “home.”

Sumiko soon discovers that the camp is on an Indian reservation and that the Japanese are as unwanted there as they’d been at home. But then she meets a young Mohave boy who might just become her first real friend…if he can ever stop being angry about the fact that the internment camp is on his tribe’s land.

Cynthia Kadohata explores an important and painful topic through the eyes of a young girl who yearns to belong. Weedflower is the story of the rewards and challenges of a friendship across the racial divide, as well as the based-on-real-life story of how the meeting of Japanese Americans and Native Americans changed the future of both.

What Other People Have to Say

  • ALA Best Books for Young Adults Nominee
  • Booklist Editors’ Choice
  • CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book
  • CCBC Choices (Cooperative Children’s Book Council)
  • Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best
  • ILA/CBC Children’s Choices
  • Jane Addams Children’s Book Award
  • Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award
  • PEN USA Literary Award for Children’s Literature

Voted on by kid readers:

  • Charlie May Simon Children’s Book Award Nominee (AR)
  • Kentucky Bluegrass Award Master List
  • Keystone to Reading Book Award Reading List (PA)
  • Massachusetts Children’s Book Award Master List
  • Texas Bluebonnet Master List

“Kadohata brings into play some complex issues, but they realistically dovetail with Sumiko’s growth from child to young woman. She is a sympathetic heroine, surrounded by well-crafted, fascinating people. The concise yet lyrical prose conveys her story in a compelling narrative that will resonate with a wide audience.” (School Library Journal, starred review)

“Kadohata clearly and eloquently conveys her heroine’s mixture of shame, anger and courage. Readers will be inspired….” (Publishers Weekly)

“…it is a haunting story of dramatic loss and subtle triumphs.” (KLIATT, starred review)

“Kadohata combines impressive research and a lucent touch, bringing to life the confusion of dislocation….” (Kirkus Spring & Summer Preview)


Cynthia Kadohata
Atheneum, 2006
hardcover: 978-0689865749

Available in hardcover, paperback, audio book, and e-book formats