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The Girl with the White Flag Paperback – June, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA-- Higa tells of her experiences as a seven year old wandering for seven weeks in battle-torn Okinawa in 1945. Her nine-year-old brother was killed beside her as they slept. Separated from her sisters, she survived on her own and then with an elderly, handicapped couple. Although bloody corpses are a common sight, the book is not depressing. Aspects of Oriental culture and religion, such as the importance of family and the relationship of man to nature, can be seen. Sentences are usually short, but they don't detract from the effectiveness of this moving, autobiographical memoir. Recent immigrants from countries ravaged by war will find it particularly meaningful. All will be touched by Higa's tenacity under impossible circumstances and will be reminded that children continue to be the worst victims of war. --Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Iwo Jima, Saipan, Okinawa. The names of Pacific War battlegrounds conjure up vaguely similar memories to Americans above a certain age. But there was a difference. On Okinawa for the first time U.S. forces encountered a large civilian population. Estimates are that at least 75,000 Okinawan men, women, and children perished, many of them committing suicide rather than surrender. This book tells the story of the climax of this battle from the perspective of a seven-year-old girl, the author, who struggled against the odds to survive and to lead others to survival. Some rare photographs illuminate the ending to this simply told story, as the girl in the title comes into camera range of an American soldier. A charming story, a quick read for young and old alike.
- John H. Boyle, California State Univ., Chico
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Paperback: 127 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha International (JPN) (June 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770019467
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770019462
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 4.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,559,612 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Cally on February 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the only book that I have read cover to cover literally ten times. I have the book basically memorized. I first read it several year ago in my middle school years. Once I started reading I could not put it down! I will always have a copy of it in my house hold and it is in my top three books list.
This a story about a young girl about six years of age whom is amidst WWll in Japan. When her father leaves to go fight in the war the young lady along with her fellow sisters and brother to find safety. Along the way she some how get seperated from her family and is left alone for months dodging bullets, bombs and surviving by finding abandoned gardens and eating out of dead soldiers knapsacks. Her adventure takes her from running from a crazy soldier to a hole in the ground where she finds an old couple who take care of her until the young girl is forced to march around a warfront in the brightnees of day in front of American soldiers marching with a white flag in her hand.
No written report could possibly do this book it's justice. You have to read and live the tale yourself.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Anna on April 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
I moved to Okinawa in 1991 when my parents were both stationed at Kadena Air Force Base. I was eight years old at the time and not long after arriving, I happened to check this book out of the school library. To assume that children cannot understand or appriciate the meaning of war and the hardships that it entails is insulting to their intellegence. I loved this book, and I treasure the signed copy I got in 1993 when Higa-san held a signing at Camp Lester. Like "Sadako and The Thousand Paper Cranes" this book, narrated by a child, makes the popularly forgotten Pacific Campaign of WWII assessable to children who will then become socially responsible adults. It does not do to shelter children from the injustice of the world.

The book is only mildly graphic, the narrative is heart breaking, and it deserves a place in school libraries right next to Sadako, "Number the Stars" and "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl"
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By T. David Underwood on May 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
How a young girl of 7 years can survive on her own on the battlefields of war-torn Okinawa, 1945, is absolutely astonishing. As a history teacher in Okinawa, Japan, I have run accross a wide array of materials concerning the Battle of Okinawa, but no other book so vividly details the human side of the struggle from the viewpoint of civilian Okinawans. This is a heart-warming story of triumph in the midst of great tragedy. I often encourage my students to place themselves in the "shoes" of those whom we are studying, to go beyond just facts and figures and identify with the real people who experienced history. Tomiko Higa takes the reader directly to the Battle of Okinawa through the eyes of a child.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lackawaxen on November 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is an incredible memoir of Mrs. Tomiko Higa's experience as a 7 year-old during the Battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1944. At the end of the battle, after emerging from a cave with a piece of white loincloth attached to a stick, she was photographed by an American soldier. Roughly 40 years later, she accidentally spotted the photo in a bookstore. Reluctant to come forward and identify herself at first, she finally did so after reading several false accounts about the identity of the little girl. The book is short, only 127 pages, and a fast read. It is also poignant--the prose is clean, the descriptions frank and insightful, the story inspiring. Mrs. Higa begins by telling of her life in Shuri, the ancient capital of the Ryukyu Kingdom known today as Okinawa. She progresses to the landing of the American forces at Kadena, her consequent hiding in air-raid shelters, and then her moving from cave to cave with her siblings to escape the fighting. She eventually becomes separated from them and has to survive the battle on her own. Where a child of 7 gains such strength and smarts is really beyond one's imagination and the manner in which Mrs. Higa describes her experience is what makes this book so worth reading.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By higa on January 29, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
but is no relation. And found I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. There are many mentions in the customer reviews about it being middle school or young adolescent lit, so I was a little leery. And it is in a way, because the episodes in her life are just presented the way she remembered them. There is no tying it back to a larger political idea, no closure of narrative like one expect in an adult novel, and often "characters" in her story walk away never to be seen from or heard from again. So, in that way, if you are expecting an adult account with deep reflections, ramifications both political and social, and prescriptions and condemnations, then you need to read another book. But Higa's account was refreshing in that way that children are. She presents everything without guile or over-analysis. You feel the visceral experience with her as she climbs over the wasteland that her country becomes. She never sugar-coats anything because there is no need to when just presented factually. You feel her need, understand her young judgements, and are just charmed by her plucky character. In today's multicultural educational system, this book would be a good addition to any history of WWII.
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