Set in Japan, Dolls of Hope is an inspiring story about eleven-year-old Chiyo Tamura. After sneaking into her sister’s omiai, Chiyo is sent to a school for girls in Tsuchiura. As she tries to make friends and fit in, Chiyo learns of an upcoming singing competition in which the winners will travel to Tokyo and sing a song of welcome to the Friendship Dolls from America. Chiyo finds herself in Tokyo singing to the Friendship Dolls, but in a surprising turn of events, becomes one of the most popular girls in Japan. In the midst of all this, Chiyo is bullied by a girl from her school who is jealous of all the attention Chiyo is receiving. Upon returning to school, Chiyo must repair damage this girl did and restore her good name.
The sequel to Ship of Dolls: Dolls of Hope, is a captivating story of friendship and bravery. The author did a superb job of developing characters. Immediately jumping into action while slowly developing the characters over the course of the book was an excellent way to attach the readers to eleven-year-old Chiyo. The author wrote the story in such a way that the reader feels everything the main character goes through.
Not knowing how culture was in the 1900s in Japan, I am not sure how adults felt about young children traveling alone. Towards the end of the story, Chiyo takes a train all by herself and travels a long way. The conductor and other adults on the train never question why she is alone. I found this perplexing and question whether is it historically and culturally accurate.
Having read the previous book, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the sequel. Dolls of Hope is a wonderful continuation of the story that began in Ship of Dolls, however it is important to note that if a girl was to pick up this book without having read the other, she would relish the story just as much and not feel as if she missed something. Dolls of Hope is a delightful tale that any girl should read.