By: Robert Paul Weston
As the story opens, Sakura is enjoying a picnic lunch under the cherry blossom trees in Japan with her beloved grandmother, Obaachan. When Sakura’s family moves to the United States for her father’s new job, Sakura misses her grandmother terribly. Sakura struggles adjusting to her new home and her new language (“Unfamiliar new words nipped and snapped on her tongue like the tang of pickled plums.”) When Sakura meets a new friend named Luke, life starts looking up for a while. However, her grandmother falls ill and Sakura must travel to Japan with her family to visit and say goodbye. Sakura is very sad when she returns until spring arrives bringing with it a familiar sight.
This is a touching story told in a series of tanka poems. This is a traditional type of Japanese poetry with five lines and thirty-one syllables. The illustrations by Misa Saburi resemble traditional woodblock prints.