Tomi Itano lives in California in 1942. When we meet her in this story, she and her brother are stopping for penny candy at a local store, where they have stopped many times before. However, this time, there is a sign on the door saying they are not welcome any longer. Tomi and her brother are second-generation Japanese-Americans, both born in the United States. However, Japan had just bombed Pearl Harbor and Americans are frightened of all things Japanese.
Tomi and her family live on a strawberry farm, but they, like all other Japanese Americans at this time, are forced to leave their homes to stay in "Relocation Camps." Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky (Lexile: 640; Interest Level: Grades 3-6) tells the story of Tomi's family as her father is sent to prison for no reason (other than buying fertilizer and gasoline for the farm) and her mother learns to be the head of the family. Tomi tries to make the best of her circumstances, but it is not always easy to be American and Japanese.
Although dealing with a tough time in American history (especially for the Japanese Americans), this story is told in a gentle enough way that younger children (3rd and 4th grade) may be able to grasp what happened without overwhelming them. (216 p.)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.