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Monday, January 08, 2018

Dash by Kirby Larson

DashThe story Dash takes place at the very start of America's involvement into World War II.  So many great historical fiction stories have been written about this era, including the Holocaust in Europe, but not so many about Japanese internment that took place right here in America.  It's hard to even imagine what it would be like to be forced to move out of your home and relocate to a "camp" for the sole reason of your ancestry, but that's exactly what happened to thousands of Japanese Americans and their families after the Pearl Harbor attack.

Eleven year old Mitsi was heartbroken to leave her home, school, "friends" (you'll understand why I put that in quotation marks as you read the story), and most especially, her beloved dog, Dash, when her family had to relocate.  She tried everything to keep him with her, including writing a letter to General DeWitt, the general in charge of relocation, begging him to change the rules about pets.  The answer was, of course, no.  Finally, Mitsi asks a trusted neighbor, Mrs. Bowker, to take care of Dash.

Throughout her time at the camp, Mitsi keeps in touch with Dash through letters with Mrs. Bowker.  This keeps her spirits high for the most part, but other things about her family and all the changes they must endure continue to get her down.

The story ends on a happy note for Mitsi and Dash, but we really don't find out what happens to her family and their situation.  You'll need to read the Author's Notes to find out, because this story was based on true events about a girl and her dog, Chubby.

I highly recommend this book.  Aside from the obvious theme of injustice and fear, family situations, bullying, and most importantly friendship have important messages in this story.  It is written in a true and authentic voice of an eleven year old girl and it also teaches a valuable history lesson along the way.  I hope you enjoy reading this wonderful book.

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