Saturday, May 7, 2016
Ema is half Japanese and half American and struggles with the differences between the two cultures. When her mom has difficulties with her pregnancy, Ema and her mom go to stay with Ema's Japanese grandparents instead of traveling to America for the summer like they usually do. Ema takes on a lot of responsibility for caring for her mom, trying to please her grandmother, and going to school. This novel in verse starts the summer before 9/11 and continues through to the following January.
I really struggled to get through this because so many things went wrong and there was very little that went right or helped to lighten the mood and give hope. The mom struggled with the pregnancy and with her Japanese in-laws, Ema had trouble making friends and didn't seem to have any contact with friends from home, she also struggled with her relationship with her Japanese grandmother, then her Japanese grandfather gets sick, and the baby is born prematurely. And, then throw in 9/11 as well. That is a lot to take in... I am not sure how this would appeal to a 4th or 5th grade reader.