Monday, May 14, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Thanks to Jen and Kellee of for inspiring so many people to read and share every Monday!

I liked the cover of Sylvia and Aki by Winifred Conkling while I was browsing at the town library with one of my daughters and I am so glad that I brought this book home and read it! Based on the historical events just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, this book rotates between the narration of Sylvia Mendez, who was the plaintiff in the landmark 1946 court case, Mendez et al v. the Westminster School District et al., and Aki Munemitsu, a Japanese girl whose family was sent to a Japanese internment camp in the Arizona desert. Because Sylvia's family rents the vacated farm owned by Aki's family, the girls' stories intersect and intertwine, providing the substance for an engaging plot.

This book offers so much to discuss! Public reaction to cultures, racism, perceptions and realities, as well as less known American history, all emerge in the relatively simple text of Sylvia and Aki. I shared it with my daughters so it had been the basis for some interesting dinner conversations and I am looking forward to some of my students reading it as well. It's also a great mentor text in that it shifts story lines and narrators but maintains the interconnectedness. Definitely worth reading this one!


  1. It's always a happy day when the interior of a book lives up to it's gorgeous cover, isn't it? This is a time period and subject not much written about...have you read "Under the Blood Red Sun?" - somewhat similar, and also engrossing.

    1. Haven't read that--putting it on my list. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for sharing this! My 10yo is very interested in WWII and recently enjoyed a couple of books about the internment experience: When the Cherry Blossoms Fell and The Journal of Ben Uchida (My Name is America series). I'll be suggesting this to her!

  3. This sounds like a beautiful story. I love it when I am pleasantly surprised by an unknown book!

  4. I love learning about new historical fiction books- they are probably my favorite genre to read. Thanks for sharing!

    Happy reading this week :)

  5. Sounds like an interesting read. I read Molokai for my book club, which is an adult book, but hearing about your review made me think of that book. An interesting time period to read it about!