Cherry Blossom Baseball

184p. (A Cherry Blossom: Bk. 3). Dundurn. 2015. Tr $11.99. ISBN 9781459731660.
Gr 4–6—Maruno's latest installment in the series takes Michiko to a new town due to her father's job. Michiko's father lost his job when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. In this new town, she experiences not only the discrimination of being a Japanese Canadian during World War II but also the additional discrimination of being an outsider in a close-knit community. One day, she gets lost and meets a local boy who plays baseball. Her new friend encourages her to try out for the team. Michiko's hair is under her hat, and she is mistaken for a boy and chosen to play on the team. Soon there is a controversy when her true gender is discovered. Readers will find Michiko a bit of a worrier. Secondary characters have lives that are never fully fleshed out. The prose glitters at moments, but other times falters, as the author repeats information unnecessarily or omits context from events that happened in the previous two books.
VERDICT A historically accurate story about being an outsider, family values, and the ability of sports to bring people together; a secondary purchase for larger middle grade collections.

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