Written by Kirby Larson
Although Mitsi Kashino and her family are swept up in the wave of anti-Japanese sentiment following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Mitsi never expects to lose her home – or her beloved dog, Dash. But, as World War II rages and people of Japanese descent are forced into incarceration camps, Mitsi is separated from Dash, her classmates, and life as she knows it.
The camp is a crowded and unfamiliar place, whose dusty floors, seemingly endless lines, and barbed wire fences begin to unravel the strong Kashino family ties. With the help of a friendly neighbor back home, Mitsi remains connected to Dash in spite of the hard times, holding on to the hope that the war will end soon and life will return to normal. Though they’ve lost their home, will the Kashino family also lose their sense of family? And will Mitsi and Dash ever be reunited?
Primary Source Pairing:
The story of Mitsi and Dash brings to life the struggles Japanese Americans faced during World War II. For this primary source pairing, use the photograph of the real Mitsi and Chubby the dog to show students that these characters really existed and how they were the inspiration for the story Dash. Additionally, invite students to study the map of Japanese American Internment Camps in the United States using the Primary Source Analysis Tool for Maps.
Dig deeper into the primary source analysis of this time period using the Library of Congress’ Primary Source Set about the Japanese American Internment. This set of images, curated by the Teach.LOC.gov community, includes photographs, images of government orders, newspapers, and WWII documentation. This set of primary sources is book discussion ready and will truly enhance the reading experience of this poignant book.
Questions for Discussion:
- Describe what you see.
- What do you notice first?
- What people and objects are shown?
- How are they arranged?
- What is the physical setting?
- What’s happening in the image?
- When do you think it was made?
- How does this picture of Mitsi and Chubby connect to what you read in Dash?
Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Photograph of Mitsi and Chubby: Kirby Larson’s website
Japanese American Internment Camp Map: Japanese American National Museum
Japanese American Internment Primary Source Set: Library of Congress
Kirby Larson’s website