Naomi's Road


120 pages
ISBN 1-55005-115-6
DDC jC813'.54





Reviewed by Deborah Dowson

Deborah Dowson is a Canadian children’s librarian living in Powell,


Naomi’s family is loving and gentle, and she wishes she could be a
child forever, but of course she must grow up and find her own road.
When her grandmother becomes sick, Naomi’s mother returns to Japan to
care for her. When her father becomes ill and has to be hospitalized,
Naomi’s aunt, Obasan, cares for her and her brother, Stephen. Then
World War II breaks out and they are sent away, along with many other
Japanese Canadians, to live in small, dismal huts in the interior of
British Columbia. One bright spot in these dark days is a friendship
Naomi forms with a girl named Mitzi. At the end of the war, Naomi and
her family are told that they can never go back to their lovely house in
Vancouver. Instead, Naomi must work hard in the sugar beet fields in
Alberta and continue to find her road without her loving parents.

This is an expanded version of the now classic story that was
originally published in 1986 and is based on Kogawa’s adult book
Obasan (1981). Though it is very sad, the story is told with the
tenderness and innocence of a child’s perspective within the interned
Japanese-Canadian community. The ending allows the reader to see that
despite their incredible loss and hardship, Naomi and Stephen did grow
up to find their way, and even though they lost their parents they
carried on their values of love and wisdom. This is an essential
acquisition for every children’s collection. Highly recommended.


Kogawa, Joy., “Naomi's Road,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 22, 2024,