Yumi must choose between the customs of her native Japan and her new country, Hawaii, in order to free her family from the sugar plantation.
The trouble really began the day Yumi's little brother, Shogo, got lost in the cane fields. It started out as an ordinary day... "Hurry up, Yumi-Girl," Mama said. She blew out the lamp and pushed her through the door. "Yes, Mama," Yumi said. She never talked back. Sometimes, inside, she would have liked to tell Mama NO. But she never really did it.
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Suddenly, Aiko yelled, "Look out!" She pointed behind Yumi.
Four boys had sneaked up behind them through the tall sugar cane. One of them, the new boy, grabbed the back of Yumi's dress. "No!" she shouted. She felt something slithery going down her back. LIttle feet were running down her spine.
She dropped her hoe. She jumped up and down, round and round. Out fell a lizard, out of her dress.
"Oh, I hate you!" Yumi shouted at the new boy. "And I hate lizards!"
The new boy laughed. The other boys didn't pay any attention to her. They all yelled and waved their arms, chasing the little brown lizard through the sugar cane.
The girls brushed themselves off, then picked up their lunches and hoes.
Yumi thought she could still feel the lizard's scratchy toes on her back. She shuddered. Boys! Such a bother!
Chop, chop, chop! They began to chop the weeds again.
Suddenly she missed Shogo.
"Aiko, have you seen my brother?" she asked. "Sachie, have you?"
"No," said Aiko, looking around. "Isn't he with you?"
"Maybe he's chasing the lizard," said Sachie. She shaded her eyes with her hand and looked across the field.
"Oh, no!" Yumi said. "I was supposed to take care of him." She began to shake. She cried, "I've got to find him."