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by Kyoko Mori


School Library Journal:

Gr 7-10- As in Shizuko’s Daughter (Holt, 1993), Mori revisits the lives of mothers and daughters trapped by traditional values and gender roles in Japan in the 1970s. Megumi’s mother tells her, “If I don’t leave your father now…I can’t bear to live long enough to see you grow up.” The woman returns to her father’s home to live, forsaking her daughter and refusing to see or speak with the girl until she reaches adulthood, although she breaks her self-imposed exile to correspond through letters. Left in the care of a strict, critical, paternal grandmother and an absent father who spends more time with his mistress than his family, Megumi, 15, suffers a crisis of faith. Hurt by her mother’s betrayal and hypocrisy, she quits her Bible study class and breaks her association with the pastor’s family. When Megumi rescues an injured bird, she meets a veterinarian, a neighborhood outcast because of her unusual professional and personal status. The emotional support of this new friend and of a young man who was a childhood playmate bolster the girl’s courage to stand up for herself to her grandmother, to her father, and to her mother. As she observes strength of will to be of primary importance to survival of the injured birds she nurtures, Megumi’s innate strength, intelligence, and resilience ensure her own survival. Stunning, evocative prose both sets scenes and shapes believable, multidimensional characters in this well-crafted coming-of-age novel.–Alice Casey Smith, Sayreville War Memorial High School, NJ


  • Phoenix Award
  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults: 1996


10th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade, Animals, Family, Teen