cover image Beneath the Wide Silk Sky

Beneath the Wide Silk Sky

Emily Inouye Huey. Scholastic Press, $19.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-338-78994-2

This meditative debut, inspired by Huey’s family history, follows one Japanese teen’s experiences living on the brink of WWII in 1941 Linley Island, Wash. Though she believes dreaming only leads to disappointment, high school sophomore Samantha Sakamoto, whose father is a “dirt poor Japanese farmer,” wants to become a photographer. Her best friend and secret crush Beau McClatchy, a wealthy white boy, encourages her to enter a statewide photo contest, insisting that Sam “stop making yourself so... small.” The tension and grief caused by Sam’s mother’s recent death is heightened by her family’s dwindling finances, and the $50 grand prize would be a boon. When Sam meets and develops a crush on her older sister’s classmate, Hiro Tanaka, she struggles to sort through her feelings for him and for Beau. The bombing of Pearl Harbor adds additional stress, bringing federal agents to Linley and escalating threats to the Japanese community. Huey imbues Sam’s narration with familiarity, creating an urgent immediacy that guides this insightful story, whose personal beginnings the author outlines in the creator’s acknowledgments. Ages 12–up. Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary. (Oct.)