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Browse > Media Type > Books

223 articles

Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Displacement, Evils of racism, Role of women
  • Widely available

Children's novel aimed at ages 8 to 11 by Sandra Dallas centering on the wartime incarceration experience of the Itano family at the Tallgrass, Colorado, camp, featuring as its protagonist twelve year old Tomi Itano. The book is a sequel of sorts to Dallas' adult novel, Tallgrass (2007).

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Looking Like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese-American Internment Camps (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir, Children's
  • Evils of racism, Facing darkness, Family – blessing or curse, Injustice, Loss of innocence, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Incarceration memoir of life at Pinedale Assembly Center , Tule Lake , and Minidoka , by Mary Matsuda Gruenewald, a seventeen-year-old Nisei at the time of her and her family's forced removal from their Washington state farm. First published in 2005 by NewSage Press, it was followed by a young reader's edition in 2010.

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Heart Mountain (book)

  • Books
  • Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Love and sacrifice, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Novel by acclaimed essayist and nature/travel writer Gretel Ehrlich. Set inside and outside of the Heart Mountain , Wyoming, concentration camp, Heart Mountain was published by Viking in 1988.

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The Internment of Japanese Americans (ReferencePoint Press) (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8
  • Young adult
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Hazards of passing judgment, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Widely available

Overview volume on the wartime removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans aimed at middle and high school audiences published in 2014 by ReferencePoint Press as part of the "Understanding American History" series.

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Voices from the Camps: Internment of Japanese Americans during World War II (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8
  • Young Adult, History
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Hazards of passing judgment, Injustice, Power of the past
  • Available

Brief overview book for juvenile audiences on the wartime removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans by prolific children's book author Larry Dane Brimner. The "voices" of the title are taken from testimony by Japanese Americans before the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC).

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Looking After Minidoka: An American Memoir (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Change versus tradition, Coming of age, Displacement, Female roles, Growing up - pain or pleasure, Immigrant experience, Love and sacrifice, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice, Power of tradition, Will to survive
  • Available

A third-generation Japanese American shares the multi-generational story of both sides of his family, from immigration to the aftermath of Pearl Harbor and wartime incarceration, to resettlement and his own childhood.

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City in the Sun (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Displacement, Evils of racism
  • Limited availability

1946 novel by Karon Kehoe that represented the first full-length work of adult fiction to dramatize Japanese American confinement.

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Four-Four-Two (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8
  • Historical fiction
  • Coming of age, Companionship as salvation, Displacement, Forgiveness, Identity crisis
  • Available

A popular and confident Nisei boy and his best friend enlist in the all-Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team and are thrown into the horrific reality of combat in Europe.

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Dandelion Through the Crack/Kiyo's Story (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Evils of racism, Family – blessing or curse, Female roles, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Wisdom of experience
  • Widely available

Memoir by a Nisei woman of farm life in Sacramento, her family's wartime incarceration, and their struggles to reestablish their lives after the war.

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Weedflower (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Growing up – pain or pleasure, Evils of racism, Fear of other, Losing hope
  • Widely available

Coming-of-age novel for young adults set in Poston with a young Nisei girl as the protagonist. Weedflower was author Cynthia Kadohata's second young adult novel, after the Newbery Medal winning Kira-Kira .

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Flowers from Mariko (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Growing up – pain or pleasure, Heartbreak of betrayal, Optimism – power or folly, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Picture book for children about a Japanese American family's World War II incarceration and difficulties in restarting their lives after the war, told from the perspective of a young girl of about nine of ten. Mariko, her little sister Emi, and their parents live in Los Angeles before the war, where their father works as a gardener. When they are forced to leave, he leaves his gardening truck and equipment with their landlord. When Japanese Americans are allowed to return to the West Coast in 1945, the family makes plans to return. However their father finds that his truck and equipment have been sold, and the former landlord is nowhere to be found. The family is forced to live in a government-run trailer park upon their return, and her father is unable to find work. One day, he finds some old equipment in the trash, along with some flower seeds. …

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Bat 6 (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8
  • Children's, Sports
  • Character - destruction, building up, Forgiveness
  • Widely available

Set in 1949, two small towns in Oregon are rivals in the girls' softball game of the year, Bat 6 (1998). On the Bear Creek Ridge team, Aki Mikami is the new girl is who has just returned after being "sent away to a camp" with her family since 1942. All the 6th grade girls were too young to remember Aki and her family leaving, and the adults would talk in whispers amongst themselves about what happened, but not to the children. Aki is shy but she is an amazing ball player (her mother was MVP for Bat 6 in 1930) and girls take to her immediately. The opposing Bat 6 team, Barlow, also recruits a talented new player named Shazam—a troubled girl who has come to live with her grandmother. She hates the Japanese because her father was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. The ballgame culminates in …

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The Bracelet (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Children's
  • Growing up – pain or pleasure, Importance of community, Self-awareness, Will to survive
  • Widely available

A children's picture book by Nisei author Yoshiko Uchida , with illustrations by Joanne Yardley, originally published in 1993. The Bracelet is a story derived from the author's own childhood experiences in an American concentration camp during World War II. The book opens as seven-year-old Emi, her mother and sister prepare to leave their home in Berkeley, California, for Tanforan , a racetrack that has been converted into a temporary camp for Japanese Americans. Emi's best friend, Laurie Madison, brings her a gold bracelet as a farewell gift, and as a reminder of the value of their friendship. Emi vows that she will never take it off, but as she helps clean out the filthy horse stable that will serve has her family's "apartment," the gold chain slips off her wrist and is lost. At first, she is desolate, but Emi eventually realizes that she does not need the bracelet …

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Issei and Nisei: The Internment Years (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Displacement, Importance of community, Role of religion - value or hypocrisy
  • Available

Memoir of a young Issei Methodist clergyman based in Washington state during the trying years of World War II. Published in the fall of 1967, Daisuke Kitagawa's account was among the first book-length first-person accounts of the Japanese American incarceration.

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Gasa-Gasa Girl (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Fiction, Mystery
  • Family – blessing or curse, Greed as downfall, Power of the past
  • Widely available

The second mystery novel in Naomi Hirahara's "Mas Arai Mysteries" series, Gasa-Gasa Girl finds the Kibei crime solver in New York where he reconciles with his estranged daughter and unravels the mysterious death of a wealthy Nisei businessman.

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In Search of Hiroshi (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Family – blessing or curse, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Power of the past
  • Available

Memoir by Nisei journalist Gene Oishi published by Charles E. Tuttle in 1988.

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Japanese Americans Struggle for Equality (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12
  • Grades 9-12
  • Children's, History
  • Immigrant experience, Injustice, Progress – real or illusion, Social mobility
  • Limited availability

Early overview book for young readers on the Japanese American experience framed through a lens of discrimination and the responses to it. Issued as part of a "Discrimination" series on various ethnic groups by Rourke Corporation (now Rourke Educational Media), it was published in 1992.

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Memoirs of a Certain Nisei (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Empowerment, Patriotism – positive side or complications, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Available

Posthumously published memoir by Kibei war hero Thomas Taro Higa , translated from its original Japanese and published in 1988. The vast majority of the book covers events taking place during World War II.

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My Name Is Yoshiko (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Names – power and significance, Optimism – power or folly, Role of women, Working class struggles
  • Available

Memoir of an ordinary Nisei woman that includes her wartime incarceration in American concentration camps. Yoshiko Kawaguchi (born in 1921) was the eldest daughter in a farm family in Downey, California. After attending sewing school, World War II hits and the family ends up in the horse stalls of Santa Anita , then in the Rohwer , Arkansas, concentration camp. Resettling in Michigan, she eventually gets a job at a fancy restaurant. She meets and marries a Nisei from Kaua'i and settles in Chicago, where her sisters and parents also eventually settle. Her husband becomes a mail carrier, and they adopt a girl. Later, they move to back to Downey and retire in Kaua'i.

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Molly Donnelly (book)

  • Books
  • Widely available

Written for younger teen readers (6th-9th grade), Molly Donnelly by Jean Thesman chronicles the life of a young Irish American girl from ages 12 through 16 during World War II in Seattle, Washington. Serving as a subplot of the novel, one of Molly's best friends is her next door neighbor, Emily Tanaka, who along with her family is sent to an incarceration camp for the duration of the war. While on a picnic at the beach on Sunday December 7 with Emily and another friend Louise, Molly's Uncle Charlie suddenly runs up to them to say that the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor. Emily, who moved to Washington from Honolulu three years prior, still has family in Hawai'i and frantically runs home.

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Reluctant Samurai: Memoirs of an Urban Planner (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Family – blessing or curse, Fulfillment, Importance of community, Progress – real or illusion
  • Limited availability

Memoir by a Nisei man that recounts his agricultural upbringing, his time in American concentration camps, and his postwar career as an urban planner who was a key figure in the redevelopment of downtown Los Angeles.

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The Floating World (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Coming of age, Family – blessing or curse, Female roles, Working class struggles, Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • Widely available

Acclaimed coming-of-age novel largely set on the road centering on Olivia Osaka and her itinerant family in the 1950s.

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China Dolls (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Companionship as salvation, Empowerment, Female roles, Forgiveness, Heartbreak of betrayal, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Historical novel by Lisa See centering on performers at Chinese themed nightclubs in San Francisco and New York in the 1930s and 1940s. One of the three main characters is a Japanese American woman passing as Chinese American.

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Farewell to Manzanar (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Displacement, Evils of racism, Family – blessing or curse, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Popular memoir that tells the story of one family's forced removal and confinement at Manzanar through the eyes of a young girl. First published in 1973, Farewell to Manzanar has sold over one million copies and is one of the most widely read accounts of Japanese American incarceration and its aftermath.

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Summer of the Big Bachi (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Fiction, Mystery
  • Facing darkness, Greed as downfall, Power of silence, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Mystery novel by Naomi Hirahara that was the first to feature her Kibei hibakusha (atomic bomb survivor) gardener protagonist Mas Arai.

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