Name of Book: The Bracelet
Author: Yoshiko Uchida
Audience: Ages 4-9
Summary: During World War II, Second grader Emi is one of thousands told they must give up everything and move to an internment camp. Why? Because their relatives came from Japan. In many cases, as in Emi’s, those relatives came one or two generations before this and they are now citizens of the United States, but that does not matter. They are considered possible traitors or spies. While they are packing, Emi’s best friend Laurie comes to say goodbye and gives her a gold bracelet. Emi promises to always wear it to remember her friend. When Emi arrives in Montana, she realizes she has lost the bracelet. At first she is upset as the bracelet was the only link she had with her friend. As time passes, though, she begins to realize that she does not need the bracelet to remember her friend.
Literary elements at work in the story: Uchida uses a simple, descriptive style, that allows a child’s feelings to show through without becoming sentimental. Yardley’s watercolor illustrations match the characters and are historically accurate.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story: This story is about the history of the Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II. The history is portrayed with grace without diluting the fact that it was wrong. The conversations with Emi and Laurie are particularity good at showing how confusing this part of our history was. An afterword gives historical context to the story.
Scripture: Jonah 2: 1-9. When Jonah first arrived in the belly of the whale, he must have felt a bit like Emi when she lost her bracelet. He must have felt that he had lost all connection with the outside world. However, he, like Emi, begin to remember and understand and eventually hope comes. With hope he, like Emi, can see clearly. For Emi it means that she will not forget her past. For Jonah hope means that even in the belly of the whale, God will save him. When you are in the “belly of the whale,” when you are in distress, pray as Jonah did, as if you are already saved, for you are!
- How did Emi feel about leaving her home?
- What did the bracelet mean/represent to her?
- How did she overcome her unhappiness about loosing the bracelet?
- Have you ever been sad like Emi was when she had to leave her home and when she lost her bracelet?
- What did you do?
- How did Jonah feel about being in the belly of the whale?
- Who did he come to understand would save him?
- Can you think of something that makes you unhappy?
- Can we go around the table and ask God to help us find hope in our unhappiness?
Review prepared by guest blogger Janet Lloyd
The Bracelet by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.