cover image Dash


Kirby Larson. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-545-41635-1

As she did in Duke (2013), Larson centers this trenchant novel on a child dealing with hardships on the home front during WWII, including separation from a beloved dog. Inspired by real-life wartime events, the novel vividly communicates the emotional and physical ordeals endured by Japanese-Americans evacuated to relocation camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. A pall descends early in the story, as 11-year-old Mitsi Kashino contends with classmates’ slurs and snubs, including some from her two best friends. After learning of her family’s impending relocation, Mitsi is devastated to discover that her one steadfast ally, her dog Dash, cannot accompany them. Asking a neighbor to take care of Dash, “Mitsi thought she had cried out all her tears, but a couple more leaked out.” Reprising the narrative conceit used in Duke, Larson incorporates correspondence between the girl and Dash, whose letters are the work of a surprising ghostwriter. Despite the hurdles Mitsi faces, hope, resourcefulness, and a new friend help this relatable heroine triumph. Ages 8–12. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Grinberg Literary Management. (Aug.)