This was a touching story of a little girl and her magical friend from Japanese folklore, who are searching for her father. In spare details, we learn from overheard conversations that ultimately her Papa is in an internment camp (during WWII). Mira and Baku float through the sky, searching for Papa. This is a surreal tale that touches on loss of a loved one.
This picture book has soft, beautiful illustrations, but the story is very confusing. Mira's search for her father occurs in a fanciful, metaphorical way, and it isn't clear what is real and what is imaginary. For example, although Baku is an imaginary friend, this is never completely obvious until the author's note, since he looks like some kind of pet animal.
This story is supposed to represent the experiences of Japanese-Canadian families who faced discrimination and separation during World War II, but the execution is not successful. The story never really explains what's happening to Mira's family, and you have to wait until the author's note to get an explanation and interpretation. The story is already confusing because of the fantastical elements, so this is a tremendous misstep. Readers who lack prior knowledge about the historical context will have a difficult time understanding the real story underneath the fantasy.
Also, why doesn't Mira already understand that her father is in a different interment camp, and that it isn't his fault that he can't be with her for her birthday? She should already know all of this, and although children sometimes repress traumatic knowledge, you shouldn't have to impose that kind psychologizing on a picture book for the story to make sense. Mira's confusion, her search, and her anger at her father for not being present might work as a metaphorical exploration of how traumatized children use fantasy to cope with realities they can't accept, but this doesn't make sense in story terms.
Mira and Baku is far too metaphorical and opaque for children, and it doesn't have enough substance to appeal much to adults, either. I found this book disappointing and strange, and I hope that there will be better children's books in the future to educate people about the Japanese-Canadian interment experience.
A poignant story of a young girl missing her father and being worried that he won't join them for her birthday. With her imaginary friend Baku she goes looking for him.
I had inferred but had it confirmed by the author in her note after the story that this was about the bigoted internment of Japanese Canadians during WWII. It's an important and incident to discuss and learn about.
The soft, soothing colours of the illustrations offer a quiet way to talk about a serious and upsetting part of our past.
Thank you to Netgalley and to Annick Press for this ARC in exchange for my review.
"In Japanese folklore, a 'baku' is a magical creature who eats nightmares."
It's almost Mira's birthday, but Papa is not here. He has NEVER once missed celebrating her birthday with her, so Mira and her imaginary friend go looking for him.
This is a sweet and involving tale, though I really didn't get the whole story until I read the author's note at the end. There we find out that Mira and her family are Japanese Canadians, and that her father has been put in an internment camp. At first I was annoyed that this had not been explained within the pages of the story itself, but now I think that it might be better this way as younger children can appreciate the tale simply as a relatable story of missing a loved one. Parents can choose whether or not to explain one of the shameful facts from history to an older child.
A poignant and thought-provoking book.
Mira doesn't understand why her father is absent and will miss her birthday, so she and her imaginary friend go looking for him. Their store and home are vacant and they are living with others. But mama is still KNITTING. Loved ones go missing for a number of reasons, but this book was written as a call to remember a time of great sadness for Japanese families in North America duting WW2. The story is lovingly illustrated by Michelle Theodore in detailed, muted colors which are delightful yet reflect Mira's sadness. Well suited for reading WITH someone of any age including ESL, and great for gifting to anyone, but especially to a school or your local public library!
I requested and received a free temporary e-book on Adobe Digital Editions from Annick Press via NetGalley. Thank you!
@CBCBook Canadian author and illustrator
This was a hard read for me. I couldn't imagine trying to hold my life together while raising a child in a time of turmoil. That is the unfortunate reality many families have faced and are currently facing around the world.
The subject matter (Japanese internment camps in Canada in WWII) was hard, and then on top of it, reading from the perspective of Mira, a little girl who hardly understands is heartbreaking.
Mira just wants her dad and she doesn't understand why he isn't around he is always with her on her birthday and she doesn't understand while this year will be different.To cope her and Baku (her imaginary friend) try to make sense of a situation and gind her dad to bring him home, but home isn't where it use to be.
I think Truvert does an amazing job showing how families were torn apart in WWII and how many struggles arose from isolation and separation. I had no idea Canada also separated Japanese Canadians as we did in the United States. Our fear overshadowed or humanity.
Truvert took a great approach for this age group to get a slight grasp on the seriousness. Every child would miss their parents, but when a parent is held against their will, they are unable to come to their childs birthday is unthinkable. But as the ending shows, parents will do everything in their power no matter the circumstances to let their children know they are loved.
The artwork really hit home as an adult reader Theodore captures coping beautifully. On one page, she depicts Mira on a bench alone with her mother in the background, being comforted by other women. She is distraught but trying to remain strong for Mira and not let the trauma of her husband beimg imprisoned consume them both.
I think this is a great book to have on the shelves of school libraries and at home for your own children. Windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors as Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop would say.
I feel like this is only the second book I have seen on this subject matter. Which is an important part of history. Beautiful story
This is such an important part of history that not enough children learn or even know about. This book had the potential to provide the perfect glimpse into Japanese internment camps and the impact the camps made on other children in history, but in the end sadly it did not deliver that. Rather we are left with a confusing story that switched between reality and imaginary. Was it an imaginary friend? Was it a pet going on imaginary journeys?
We follow Mara who is angry her dad will not be there for her birthday. When she is told he will not be there she goes to important parts of her past and looks for him to find out why. No where throughout the story do you learn of camps or even where the dad is. This book would require a lot of prior knowledge of events going on for a kid to make an inference as to where Mara or even her dad are. The blurb at the end about internment camps and the personal connection to the story does not add to a child’s better understand as the story as a whole and therefore I would not recommend this book be added to classrooms.
Thank you NetGalley and Annick Press for an advanced e-reader copy of this book.
Poignant, deep, and beautiful. All wrapped in a children's book.
Modern History is one of my special interests, and the Japanese Internment is something I have taken classes on, and read about in-depth. It's not often I come across something I would feel comfortable using to explain the internment to young children, there are maybe a handful I can think of. This is a new one that is absolutely excellent for that purpose.
This is a must-read for parents, and teachers alike. It's sweet, and sad, and completely relatable in the emotions that it invokes for so many parents and children alike.
Mira and Baku is the story of a little Japanese girl who is waiting impatiently for her father to come home in time for her birthday. She and her imaginary friend go looking for him (in imaginary ways, like flying to different places), but her father doesn't come home in time for her birthday. She is upset about it and is ready to angry-forget about him, but then she is surprised by a letter from him with a new stone for her collection. They collected rocks together.
This is a sweet book, but I was confused about why he was gone through the whole book. I feel like we don't really get an explanation for the reason of the story until the end (in the reading section primarily for adults). We enjoyed the story, but I think it would be better if the reason for his absence was touched on in the story itself.
I'm glad more books are being written to acknowledge the wrongs done to different groups in the past. It's important that we talk about these things, and it's important for kids to grow up knowing (in an age appropriate manner, of course) the types of things that happened in the past.
Beautiful illustrations and a truly heart-warming book. I love Mira's connection with her dad, even though they are separated at the moment. ❤️
Thanks Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this advanced review copy (ARC) in exchange for my honest review on the book!
Wow, what a powerful story. I'm glad we're finally starting to write stories about the darker times in American/Canadian history that we're trying to erase. Those people that had to live it can't just erase it and their stories shouldn't be erased either. The author's note was also super informative.
Mira and Baku is a tender story about a little girl who misses her dad. The story follows Mira whose saddened by the fact that her father will be gone for another one of her birthdays. I would highly recommend this story. While it isnt a story with a happy tone, it is still beautiful and highlights an often looked over part of history. I only wish there had been a little more explanation on what was going on within the story or that it had a more clear ending. However, the author's note at the end did a great job explaining Japanese internment camps. I wish more stories involving World War II would show this often looked over part of its history.
I received an advanced copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
"Mira and Baku," tells the tell of Japanese Canadians of the 1900s. While I personally didn't feel connected to this one, it was sad and yet hauntingly beautiful at times. Mira yearns for her father, who is gone, waiting for him to arrive for her upcoming birthday. She spends time with Baku, searching the city for her father.
I liked this book. The illustrations were really nice. I don't think it was obvious enough that Baku, a tapir, was an imaginary friend. I thought maybe Mira was dreaming initially. Also, internment camps were only mentioned in the author's end note. I think the text within the story should have mentioned the historical context because many children don't read the end notes.
Mira and Baku is a melancholy story. It indirectly refers to Japanese internment camps during World War II. Mira's mother tells her that Papa will not be there for her birthday. Papa has been gone for a long time. Mira's emotions at this news range from angry to sad. The book contains many heartwarming memories Mira has about Papa and their family before he left. She thinks Papa must have forgotten her, but her friend Baku says that would never happen, and he must need help. Baku is a Japanese folkloric creature that adds a wondrous element to the cultural aspect. Mira and Baku's search for Papa invokes both heartwarming and sad memories for Mira until she realizes she knows where Papa is. The illustrations by Michelle Theodore are lovely, subdued in color when depicting sadness and more colorful for happier times.
While this is a heartbreaking book, it is an important one. The time of internment camps is a stain on United States and Canadian history and an important lesson for people. I am unsure that the given age suggestion is appropriate for this serious matter. The children may be too young to understand the situation and upset by the sadness they don't understand. Although it is a picture book, older elementary school children could read it and would understand the lesson better.
Thank you to NetGalley and Annick Press for the ARC of this book.
A soft, age-appropriate picture book to introduce the history and injustice of Japanese internment in Canada and the US during the second world war. Mira's feeling come through clearly and accurately for a girl of her age, and the inclusion of sweet, imaginary Baku helps move the story forward.
A story about a little girl whose birthday is coming up soon. She and her mom are in a Canadian Japanese internment camp while her dad got sent away to a work camp. Mira and her imaginary friend Baku travel through places of her old life to see if they can find Papa before her birthday. A good book, but I wish it had explained more for kids about why Mira and her family weren't at her house and where her dad was. This would be a good book to introduce kids to the Japanese internment in WWII.
I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Mura and Baku, is a child's eye view of the hurt of separation from her father due to his internment in Canada in Japanese American interment camp. Her imaginary friends Baku accompanies her to f ind her Dad. With disappointment in only receiving a letter from him in lieu of his presence for her birthday celebration, she struggles to accept and understand this injustice. Thank you to NetbGalley for this preview to read. Bittersweet consequence of war.
I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review.
This is a story about a young girl who goes on a magical adventure to search for her father who is missing for some reason that is really not clear while reading the story. They visit various locations that no longer look the way they used to, like the family's store with empty shelves now. I was so lost while reading this book and did not pick up on any of the underlying meaning of the story until I got to the end of the book and read the further information. After that, things made more sense, but I feel like they could have made a small mention about the camps that could have given just a little bit of context early on for anyone who doesn't read book blurbs (like me).
The illustrations were very wispy and cloud like, which was very fitting for a story about flying around with your mythical friend in search of your father. I would be okay reading this book a few times, especially since I'd probably pick up on more with a second reading myself right now because of the context I didn't have when I started the book. Overall I give this book 3.36 out of 5 stars.
This is a sad story. Mika is a little girl whose birthday is five days away and the only thing she really wants us to see her father. But that is not possible. Imaginary friend Baku helps her travel through her imagination and see things like her abandon home, and her parents abandoned fish shop. At the end, it lets the reader see where her father is, which happens to be an internment camp. While the story is fictional, it is based on true events that happen both in Canada where this book takes place and in the United States. It’s a sad point of history that still needs to be taught and this is a great first lesson.