Three girls sent away by a father who wishes for them a more prosperous life.
Once there lived three Japanese sisters:
The eldest sister's name was Aki, which means autumn. She was named this because she was as graceful as the gold and red colored leaves that swirl gently to earth in the autumn breeze.
The middle sister's name was Fuyu, which means winter. She was named this because her skin was as fair as the whitest winter's snow.
The youngest sister's name was Haruko, which means spring. She was named this because her silky, black hair smelled of the sweetest spring blossoms.
The gently eloquent tale follows the progress of three so-called "picture brides" who come to Canada in the early twentieth century, three girls sent away by a father who wishes for them a more prosperous life than he can provide in their hometown of Sendai. Reluctant as they are to leave home, the sisters are nonetheless obedient to their father's wishes. Each takes with her one item that will remind her of their home. One brings a kimono, another a violin, but the youngest, Haruko, brings three seeds of the sakura tree.
The sisters arrive on the shores of British Columbia, where their husbands await. Each joins the husband to whom she has been promised, and each has her own way of remembering the family and country she has left behind.
Haruko plants the sakura seeds, each of which grows into a cherry tree. One spring, the blossoms swirl away in the wind, and are carried to the doorsteps of the two other sisters. The blossoms remind the sisters of Haruko and their Japanese home. Following the blossoms, they find Haruko's home and the three are reunited under the sakura trees to remember their lives together.
This is a book about the meaning of family and home and an exploration of Japanese culture in Canada.
Alberta Children's/Young Adult Book of the Year Nominee, 2008
CCBC's Best Books for Kids & Teens, 2008
About the Author
Carolyn McTighe McTighe is a freelance writer whose articles can be read in various magazines across Canada and the US. A well as being a regular contributor to CBC Radio, she has also written for the Los Angeles Times newspaper and is currently working on a screenplay. Carolyn resides in Kelowna, British Columbia with her husband and three small children.
Karen Brownlee, a full-time practicing artist, focuses on landscapes, rural Alberta communities and grain elevators. She is proficient in sumi-e and other diverse styles of Japanese and Chinese brush painting, which she worked in exclusively for ten years. Karen has been a juror for the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and was the Alberta recipient of the Davis and Henderson Intercheques Prairie Heritage Preservation Award. She lives in Lethbridge Alberta with her husband, son and daughter.