While I Was Away

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Waka is twelve and enjoys being a sixth-grader in her home state of Kansas. She has two best friends, a great teacher, and life is good, and her parents suddenly announce she will miss the last couple weeks of sixth grade and the first several weeks of seventh grade because she is going to live with her grandmother in Japan for over five months. Her parents want her to improve her knowledge of the Japanese language and of her cultural background. She already speaks and writes some Japanese, but going to a Japanese school is going to be very hard. And she will miss her family and friends. And she really doesn’t know her grandmother!

There are few memoirs in the middle-grade category. This should be a very welcome addition to the canon. Waka T. Brown’s story is very compelling, reads like a novel, and is extremely well written. Readers (kids and adults) will be fascinated to read the differences and similarities between American and Japanese schools, cultures, and families. The relationship is so telling between Waka and her grandmother, and watching how they change over time is brilliant. Don’t miss this wonderful book.

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Author Waka T. Brown
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 320 pages
Publisher Quill Tree Books
Publish Date 2021-Jan-26
ISBN 9780063017115 Buy this Book
Issue February 2021
Category Tweens