(Copy provided by NetGalley.)
“Is pretending to be someone else the only way Michiko can fit in?
Michiko Minigawa’s life is nothing but a bad game of baseball. The Canadian government swung the bat once, knocking her family away from a Vancouver home base to an old farmhouse in the Kootenay Mountains. But when they move into town, the government swings the bat again, announcing that all Japanese must now move west of the Rockies or else go to Japan.
Now in Ontario, Michiko once again has to adjust to a whole new kind of life. She is the only Japanese student in her school, and making friends is harder than it was before. When Michiko surprises an older student with her baseball skills and he encourages her to try out for the local team, she gives it a shot. But everyone thinks this new baseball star is a boy. Michiko has to make a decision: quit playing ball (and being harassed), or pitch like she’s never pitched before.”
I enjoyed Cherry Blossom Baseball. Michiko/Millie/Mich was an exceptional main character--she stood up for herself, she thought for herself, and yet she was respectful to her parents and other adults (I'm a big fan of respect--ask my kids!). The story itself really captures the tug of changing--for instance, the cultural shift demonstrated by the changing tide of the old ways brought over from Japan merging with the new ways of Michiko's Canadian home, as well as the social change brought about by World War Two--freedom for women (or girls!) to do the things formerly thought of as men's sole domain, like playing baseball. I also loved the tender interactions of the family as they coped with the necessary changes in their lives brought on by the move.
Overall, this is a good story. It's solid, it teaches without preaching, and I would happily hand it off to any middle grade kid in my family.
Gentle Reader Alert:I found nothing of concern.