The 2013 One Book, One Philadelphia program features two companion book for children, teens, and family reading.
Winner of the 2012 PEN/Faulkner Award, The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka illuminates the poignant, powerful stories of Japanese “picture brides” who came to the United States during the early 1900s. Otsuka has crafted first-person plural voices that capture their collective and individual experiences as wives, mothers, breadwinners, and marginalized members of American society during both peacetime and the onset of World War II. Threaded with connections to the enduring strength of women and to Japan’s rich heritage, this novel confronts the challenges of shaping one’s identity within the confines of an unfamiliar, often unfriendly, and sometimes hostile culture.
The setting of Topaz is repeated in this picture book, in which young Mari feels as small as the sunflower seeds she plants in the blazing hot and dusty internment camp. It is hard to imagine that anything will grow here. But from the encouragement of her family and inspiration from her art teacher, Mari learns that hope can blossom in the bleakest of surroundings.