In a Flash

Random/Wendy Lamb Bks. Oct. 2020. 400p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781101934135.
Gr 4-6–Napoli takes another trip into history with this story of two Italian daughters caught in Japan during World War II. Daughters of the cook at the Italian embassy, Simona and Carolina have already worked hard to acclimate to the new customs in Japan when the unthinkable happens: War. As the narrative unfolds, Italy switches sides, placing the girls in danger as the Italian embassy closes, the internment camps loom near, and the thought of being so far away from their home country begins to take root. Throughout this perilous journey, a varied cast of Japanese characters are presented, showing all kinds of people during the biggest war of their time; from the beggars to the manga artists, who bravely tell their stories through art. Simona and Carolina learn to blend in and to use their skills to take on new “family” during the years, and the kindness of these new families keeps them alive. Napoli, no stranger to the historical fiction genre, offers a stunning look at the humanity of the Japanese and Italians during World War II, and an idea of what it was like to be in the middle of a war-torn country as a child. The research notes shed more light on the story and give readers a chance to see the history behind the fictional account.
VERDICT While at times a tough read, this is an enthralling story of sisterhood amongst harrowing war.

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