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In America's Shadow (book)

Creators: Kimberley Komatsu, Kaleigh Komatsu, Kevin Starr (foreword), Mitchell T. Maki (essay)

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Book cover. Courtesy of Thomas George Books
View in the Densho Encyclopedia

Children's picture book by Kimberley Komatsu and Kaleigh Komatsu told from the perspective of a young girl recounting her family's wartime incarceration story.

The story is told from the perspective of Aiko, who is ten years old at the time of the forced removal of Japanese Americans in 1942. In the first section, her grandfather tells her stories of his migration from Japan and eventual settlement in Wyoming on the eve of their departure and on the train ride to the camp. In the second, Aiko and her family have been at Manzanar for a while. Her grandfather teaches her to appreciate the beauty of the desert. Meanwhile, Nisei men leave the camp for the army and a neighbor woman dies suddenly. In the last section, the war is over, and Aiko wonders if anyone will remember Manzanar. Inspired by her grandfather, she vows to tell children in the future stories about this Manzanar.

The brief text is accompanied by a variety of historical photographs, many from the Komatsu family and others from archives. Some of the photos have been modified to place Aiko and her grandfather in them. In America's Shadow includes a foreword by California State Librarian Kevin Starr, a brief essay at the end by Mitchell T. Maki that provides the historical background to the story, and a glossary.

Kimberley and Kaleigh Komatsu are Yonsei sisters. At the time of the book's publication, Kaleigh was on the staff of the Japanese American National Museum . In America's Shadow was the first book published by Thomas George Books, which was cofounded by the Komatsus and Shirley Torres in 2002. In America's Shadow was a project of the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program .

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like Fred Korematsu Speaks Up by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi; The Invisible Thread by Yoshiko Uchida; A Fence Away from Freedom: Japanese Americans and World War II by Ellen Levine

Media Details
Author Kimberley Komatsu, Kaleigh Komatsu, Kevin Starr (foreword), Mitchell T. Maki (essay)
Pages 96
Publication Date 2003
Awards <a class="external text" href="http://www.ibpa-online.org/benefits/benjamin-franklin-awards/2004bfa/" rel="nofollow">Benjamin Franklin Award, Independent Book Publishers Association, Best New Voice (Children's), 2004</a>
For More Information

For More Information

Publisher's website: http://thomasgeorgebooks.com/inamericasshadow.htm .

Milliot, Jim. " Thomas George Books Takes Rising Star Award. " Publishers Weekly , June 21, 2004.