cover image Naomi's Road

Naomi's Road

Joy Kogawa. Oxford University Press, USA, $9.95 (88pp) ISBN 978-0-19-540547-7

Kogawa, who wrote the adult book Obasan, begins this with a letter to children, explaining the background for Naomi's storythat Canada was at war with Japan and so all Japanese-Canadians were placed in internment camps. Naomi and her brother first go to a camp and then to a farm; their mother has gone to Japan to nurse an ailing relative and isn't allowed to return to Canada. Naomi's point of view is singularly childlikefor her, war means missing her parents and not understanding why another girl, Mitzi, dislikes her. The writing is gently lyrical; when her father returns from a long absence and holds Naomi, ""We are quiet as moon song. As quiet and still as resting swans. Into this quiet I fall like a lost feather returning.'' This is not a novel that bears malice for the injustices of the war, but relates instead a tale of unquenchable human spirit, undaunted by prejudice and unable to let go of hope. Ages 8-11. (March)