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Children's Fiction Multigenerational

Cherry Blossom Winter

A Cherry Blossom Book

by (author) Jennifer Maruno

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2012
Multigenerational, Post-Confederation (1867-), Emigration & Immigration
Recommended Age
9 to 12
Recommended Grade
4 to 7
Recommended Reading age
9 to 12
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2012
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2012
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Download Teacher’s Guide

Where to buy it


After being outcast to a small community, 10-year-old Michiko’s life gets better when a former baseball star becomes her teacher. Second book in the Cherry Blossom Books series.

Ten-year-old Michiko wants to be proud of her Japanese heritage but can’t be. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, her family’s possessions are confiscated and they are forced into deprivation in a small, insular community. The men are sent to work on the railway, so the women and children are left to make the trip on their own.

After a former Asahi baseball star becomes her new teacher, life gets better. Baseball fever hits town, and when Michiko challenges the adults to a game with her class, the whole town turns out.

Then the government announces that they must move once again. But they can’t think of relocating with a new baby coming, even with the offer of free passage to Japan. Michiko pretends to be her mother and writes to get a job for her father on a farm in Ontario. When he is accepted, they again pack their belongings and head to a new life in Ontario.


About the author

Jennifer Maruno began her publishing career with award winning educational materials for The Peel District School Board and the Ontario Ministry of Education. She is one of the authors of Explorations, a mathematics program for Addison-Wesley of Canada, and worked with TVO in developing teaching materials for the television show Mathica's Mathshop. For her contributions to educational writing, she received the Federation of Women Teachers Writing Award, the National Council of Teachers Award of Excellence and The Award of Merit from the National School Public Relations Association. She holds a Masters of Education, Principal's and Primary Specialists certification and is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature and the Humber School of Writers summer program.Her short stories have appeared in a variety of children's magazines in Great Britain, United States and Canada. Born in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Jennifer came from a book loving family. She worked as a library helper in the old red brick library on Victoria Avenue while attending Valley Way Public school. Her childhood ambition was to have a book with her name on the spine sitting on the shelf.Her first children's novel, When the Cherry Blossoms Fell won nominations for the Hackmatack and Young Readers of Canada Awards.Educator, researcher and author, Jennifer Maruno knows stories provide much more than entertainment. From the pages of Canadian history, she creates novels empathetic to those who have experienced the darker side of our past. Maruno's understanding of the importance of cultural identity has brought When the Cherry Blossoms Fell, Cherry Blossom Winter and Cherry Blossom Baseball based on the Japanese Internment and Warbird a novel of early Jesuit life among the Huron people.Details of Kid Soldier, Jennifer's fourth novel for children, come from her father's diary. He joined the Canadian Armed Forces under age and set out for England. Enroute Britain declared war. Totem, the story of a boy seeking his identity from the confines of a residential school, was written at a time most necessary to Truth & ReconciliationJennifer lives in Burlington, Ontario with her husband spending her time weeding her David Austin roses, writing and reading to grandchildren.Laurel Keating is an award-winning artist whose illustrations are familiar to Newfoundlanders. With an eye for detail and sympathy for all living things, Laurel brings her characters to life with warmth and humour. Children have delighted in her rich and colourful illustrations in Find Scruncheon and Touton (1 and 2) and Yaffle's Journey and Full Speed Ahead: Errol's Bell Island Adventure. She lives in scenic Portugal Cove, which she has called home all her life.

Jennifer Maruno's profile page


  • Commended, Top Grade: CanLit for the Classroom selection

Editorial Reviews

Cherry Blossom Winter is a book about the deep roots of traditions, core family values, and successful relationships, as much as it is about a government’s betrayal of a people who helped to build a province, and Michiko is a likeable character readers will be happy to follow, wherever she goes. A satisfying read.

Canadian Materials

Employing a cast of charming characters and highlighting positive elements such as baseball, community gardens, fundraising bazaars, and family weddings, Maruno brings to life this tragic part of Canadian history while showing that, among the poverty and loss experienced by the internees, strong communities were still able to grow.

Quill & Quire

Maruno has created a gentle novel that adds to our Canadian story.

Resource Links

Librarian Reviews

Cherry Blossom Winter (A Cherry Blossom Book)

Cherry Blossom Winter continues the story of Jennifer Maruno’s first book, When the Cherry Blossoms Fell, where nine-year-old Michiko and her family were forced by the Canadian government to move from Vancouver to the BC interior in 1942, because of their Japanese heritage. In Cherry Blossom Winter, Michiko and her family struggle to cope with the challenges of the internment.

Michiko and her family try to live as normally as possible: her mother works as a seamstress; her father works in the local drugstore; Michiko goes to school (taught by volunteers like Aunt Sadie and even a former Asahi baseball star), helps with the farming, goes fishing and tries to enjoy living in the small town. But her family can’t forget that they are at the mercy of the Canadian government. They soon learn that their house in Vancouver has been sold and they must choose either to move east or “return” to Japan.

Michiko matures as she navigates through relationships with friends, parents and others in the town, even trying to connect with the bully George. She is determined to put things right when Mrs. Morrison’s watch goes missing, and to direct her own future when she pretends to be her mother to secure a job and place for her family to live in Ontario rather than go to Japan.

Maruno explores the role culture plays in bringing the Japanese- Canadian community together with the wider community when everyone comes out for the baseball game. Japanese cultural values and ways of thinking are interwoven into the story in a way that offers insight into challenges second-generation Canadians face to stay connected to their heritage while maintaining a Canadian identity, reflecting a theme relevant today.

Short chapters and a glossary work for 9-to-11-year-olds, but the rich, detailed writing style will appeal to older readers.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2012. Volume 35 No. 3.

Other titles by Jennifer Maruno

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