Editorial Review

The Horn Book Magazine

Cover: A Scarf for Keiko

“In this WWII home front–set picture book, a boy’s class is knitting socks for U.S. soldiers overseas, though Sam, the frustrated protagonist, is skilled only at tangling his wool into knots. Keiko, an expert knitter, is his classmate and neighbor; she’s been ostracized ‘since President Roosevelt had declared war on Japan in December.’ Keiko repeatedly extends kindnesses to Sam, but he ignores her despite the fact that his older brother, Mike, off fighting in the war, was consistently friendly to her. Before Keiko’s family is sent to an internment camp, she leaves Sam a note, her bike, and a pair of hand-knitted socks for Sam to send
to Mike, with a note telling Mike to ‘come home safely.’ With a shift to a slower narrative pace—and with Malaspina’s text mimicking the rhythm of the knitting needles (‘Click. Clack. Click. Clack’)—Sam determinedly makes a scarf to mail to Keiko, the phrase come home safely taking on a new meaning for him. Many of the
illustrations, rendered in cool browns, grays, and blues, are framed by a border, making the art look like vintage photographs, an apt choice for this work of historical fiction. Appended with an author’s note about Los Angeles’s Boyle Heights and Little Tokyo neighborhoods (‘where Jews and Japanese Americans lived side
by side and attended schools together in the early decades of the 20th Century’); photos from the time period; and information about internment camps, including the U.S. government’s later acknowledgment of the ‘grave injustice’ of the camps.”―The Horn Book Magazine

Products Reviewed

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A Scarf for Keiko
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