The Japanese American Internment: An Interactive History Adventure (book)
Creators: Rachael Hanel
Book cover. Courtesy of Capstone Press
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Children's book on the wartime incarceration by Rachael Hanel that allows the reader to choose one of three stories and to make a series of decisions in each story that determines its outcome.
After a very brief introduction explaining the concept of the book and the basics of Executive Order 9066 and the subsequent forced removal and incarceration, the reading is given the choice of entering into one of three storylines: that of an inmate at Manzanar , one at Tule Lake , or a teacher at Rohwer . Every few pages, the reader is asked to make a decision and to turn to a specific page to continue the story based on that decision.
In the Manzanar track, the reader is a young man forcibly removed with his family. At Manzanar, he befriends a fellow inmate named James Ito and quickly becomes embroiled in the Manzanar uprising . Along the way, the reader must decide to what extent to participate in the uprising (in which Ito is one of the two young men killed by soldiers) and to make subsequent decisions on the loyalty questionnaire , college, and military service. In the Tule Lake track, the reader is young man removed with his family from the Pacific Northwest. Major decisions involve the loyalty questionnaire (if the reader chooses to answer yes, he is taken back to the Manzanar chapter), whether to renounce U.S. citizenship, and whether to go to Japan after the war. The postwar fate of these inmate stories range from medical school in Chicago to death in a European battlefield to a meager existence in war ravaged Japan.
In the third track, the reader is a high school teacher in Arkansas who has to decide whether to accept a teaching position in Rohwer and, once there, how to handle various situations that come up with students.
The book ends with a brief summary of the incarceration and return and concludes with the redress movement . Supplementary materials include a timeline, glossary, and suggestions for further resources. It is illustrated with photographs, both official government images and those taken by inmates.
Author Rachael Hanel holds degrees in mass communications and history from Minnesota State University, Mankato where she also teaches. She has written over twenty books for children, most on history or nature, including several other "interactive history adventure" books for Capstone Press. We'll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger's Daughter (University of Minnesota Press, 2013) was her first book for adults.
Gina Wenger, associate professor of art education at Minnesota State University, Mankato, is listed on the title page as the consultant for this book.
Though some aspects of the stories are overly simplified, they are for the most part historically accurate. Among the errors: a claim that "[e]ach barrack contains four apartments" (page 15; the number varied, but most barracks had six units); the family in the Tule Lake story goes there from Puyallup (nearly all from Puyallup went to Minidoka); and the oft repeated claim that "[m]ore than half of the Japanese Americans in the internment camps were children" (106; the number was closer to a third).
|Awards||Teachers' Choice Award for Children's Books, <i>Learning Magazine</i>, 2009|