MockNomination for Weedflower
Sumiko is the most intensely lifelike character in any of the books on our list. Kadohata gets inside her head, communicating feelings, thoughts, and observations with clarity and a wonderful sense of humor. Through this character she excellently presents this slice of history to her audience. Though the audience will benefit from getting background information elsewhere, Kadohata has presented a story that is successful even without this information, in which a girl comes-of-age in a society that marginalizes and criminalizes her. The cultural sentiments of Gaman and haji, that are so important in understanding what happened to Nikkei, are exemplified through the well-drawn side characters in a way that any first-generation immigrant young readers will be able to empathize with.