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A Place Where Sunflowers Grow
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A Place Where Sunflowers Grow

By Amy Lee-Tai
Illustrated by Felicia Hoshino
2006, 31 pages, Hardback.
Book Description from the Front Cover Flap
Comments from the Cover
About the Author and Illustrator

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Book Description from the Front Cover Flap

Can sunflowers bloom in the desert? Mari wonders if anything can bloom at Topaz, where her family is interned along with thousands of other Japanese Americans during World War II. The summer sun is blazingly hot, and Mari's art class has begun. But it's hard to think of anything to draw in a place where nothing beautiful grows. Somehow, glimmers of hope begin to surface under the harsh sun-in the eyes of a kindly art teacher, in the tender words of Mari's parents, and in the smile of a new friend.

Inspired by her family's experiences, author Amy Lee-Tai has crafted a story rooted in one of America's most shameful historical episodes-the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during the second World War. The art schools which offered internees moments of solace and self-expression are a little known part of this history. Amy Lee-Tai's gentle prose and Felicia Hoshino's stunning mixed media images are a testimony to hope and how it can survive alongside even the harshest injustice.

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Comments from the Cover

"A story about our past and the promise of our future, A Place Where Sunflowers Grow will make our history-and our humanity-bloom."
-Don T. Nakanishi, Director, UCLA Asian American Studies Center

"A Place Where Sunflowers Grow reminds us of the human wellspring of hope in spite of injustice and the incomprehensible circumstances of imprisonment. Like the sunflowers that grow above the barrack walls at Topaz, Amy Lee-Tai and Felicia Hoshino lift up the indomitable human spirit that transcends suffering."
-Janice Mirikitani, San Francisco Poet Laureate, 2000 and Executive Director, Glide Church

"Preservation of our history is the preservation of our democracy and a reminder of who we are as Americans. In a time of uncertainty, Amy Lee-Tai shines a light on what we are capable of perpetrating on our fellow citizens, and what we are capable of rising above."
-Mike Honda, United States Congressman

"In this touching story, young Mart is the embodiment of all Japanese Americans who were wrongly and unconstitutionally interned during World War II. She transcends her hardships and, most importantly, teaches all of us important lessons about our shared humanity and dignity."
-Daniel K. Inouye, United States Senator

"A Place Where Sunflowers Grow offers beautiful, haunting depictions of life in an internment camp as seen by a child, and a narrative that is both simple and profound. A must in every school and library in the country."
-Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, author of Farewell to Manzanar

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Background on Amy Lee-Tai and Felicia Hoshino

Amy Lee-Tai, who is of both Japanese and Chinese ancestry, was born in New York City. Amy first learned about the Japanese American internment from her mother and through her grandmother Hisako Hibi's paintings. She lives in Virginia with her husband and two daughters. This is her first book.

Felicia Hoshino was born in San Francisco, California. In addition to creating mixed-media images for children's books and for magazines such as Cicada, Felicia also studies and performs Japanese classical dance. She lives with her husband and son in San Francisco, California.

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