How Did This Happen Here?: Japanese Internment Camps (book)
Creators: Leni Donlan, Nancy Harris (subject consultant)
Book cover. Courtesy of Raintree
View in the Densho Encyclopedia
Short overview picture book on the wartime removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans aimed at an elementary school audience.
The thirty-two page book covers the basics in words and photographs, starting with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor , then continuing to Executive Order 9066 and the forced removal of Japanese Americans, the " assembly centers ," the War Relocation Authority administered concentration camps (with a brief description of each camp), Japanese American American military service, the closing of the camps, and the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 .
A glossary defines key words and phrases and a brief "What to Know More?" section is included. Though it is part of the "American History Through Primary Sources," few primary sources are included, just partial images of an exclusion order poster and a typescript of Executive Order 9066.
Author Leni Donlan (1946–2007) was a teacher who became a pioneering figure in the use of the internet in teaching, eventually developing online educational products for the Library of Congress. Nine books for children she authored on various American history topics for Raintree were published in 2007–08.
While broadly accurate historically, How Did This Happen Here? contains a few errors: a claim that half of those incarcerated were children (page 8; the actual figure was less than one-third); that Minidoka "held about 13,000 internees" (16; its peak population was less than 8,000); that the " 442nd Regimental Combat Team saved the lives of 211 U.S. soldiers" (27; clearly a reference to the Rescue of the Lost Battalion , the claim makes no sense divorced from that context).