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Browse > Reading Level > Grades 3-5

44 articles

Japanese American Journey: The Story of a People (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • History, Children's
  • Empowerment, Fulfillment, Heartbreak of betrayal, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Progress – real or illusion
  • Available

Overview work for children on the Japanese American experience produced by the Japanese American Curriculum Project (JACP) in 1985. Consisting of a historical overview, eleven biographies of notable Japanese Americans, and three short stories, Japanese American Journey was adapted from a 1970 JACP publication titled Japanese Americans: The Untold Story.

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Mendez v. Westminster: For All the Children (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Change versus tradition, Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Limited availability

Children's picture book that tells in simplified form the story of the landmark Mendez case that ultimately ended segregated schools in California. The story is told through the perspective of Sylvia Mendez who is eight years old in 1943. Having rented the farm of Munemitsu family, who had been forcibly removed to concentration camps, they were new to Westminster, California. When she and her brothers are prohibited from attending the same school as her cousins (who can pass as "white") and must attend the inferior school for those of Mexican, African or Asian ancestry, her family decides to sue. With the help of lawyer David C. Marcus—and support from various organizations including the Japanese American Citizens League—the suit proves successful, ending segregation in the state. A brief epilogue notes the long-term impact of the case and the fate of Sylvia and others involved in it.

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Japanese American Internment Camps (Children's Press) (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, History
  • Evils of racism, Hazards of passing judgment, Injustice, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Available

Short overview book for younger children on the wartime removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans that is part of Children's Press's "Cornerstones of Freedom," Second Series of books.

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Best Friends Forever: A World II Scrapbook (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Everlasting love, Family – blessing or curse, Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Widely available

Children's book about the friendship between a German American girl and her forcibly removed Japanese American friend in the form of a scrapbook from the year 1942.

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Baseball Saved Us (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Sports, Picture book
  • Character - destruction, building up, Fear of failure
  • Widely available

Popular and acclaimed children's picture book written by Ken Mochizuki and illustrated by Dom Lee about the concentration camps and their aftermath through the prism of baseball.

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The Fences Between Us: The Diary of Piper Davis (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Injustice, Loss of innocence
  • Widely available

Novel for elementary and middle schoolers about a young white teenage girl's experience of World War II including the Japanese American removal and incarceration told in the form of a diary. The Fences Between Us is part of the Dear America series, all of which are written in the form of diaries by young women/girls from various key moments in U.S. history.

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What, No Sushi? My Solar-Powered History at a Japanese-American Internment Camp (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Injustice, Power of the past, Family – blessing or curse
  • Widely available

Book aimed at elementary school children about three young brothers from Alaska who take a time machine to experience the mass exclusion and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II with their great-grandmother in California.

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The Japanese American Internment: An Interactive History Adventure (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, History
  • Displacement, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Available

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.

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American Dreams (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Historical Fiction, Children's
  • Evils of racism, Coming of age, Injustice, Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • Available

Chapter book for children about two eleven-year-old girls in Hollywood, one white and one Japanese American, in the weeks just before and just after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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The Lucky Baseball: My Story in a Japanese-American Internment Camp (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Historical fiction, Children's
  • Coming of age, Displacement, Identity crisis
  • Available

A Japanese American boy is forcibly removed from his home in Southern California and incarcerated in a concentration camp but learns important life lessons through continuing to play baseball.

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Blue Jay in the Desert (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Picture book
  • Quest for discovery, Rights - individual or societal
  • Widely available

Blue Jay in the Desert by Marlene Shigekawa and illustrated by Isao Kikuchi is a children's picture book about how the gift of a hand-carved wooden blue jay symbolizes the love and hope a grandfather gives to his grandson.

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Journey of Heroes: The Story of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Heroism – real and perceived, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Evils of racism
  • Widely available

A comic book version of the story of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team told in the first person voice of a Nisei from Hawai'i.

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Fish for Jimmy (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Picture book
  • Growing up - pain or pleasure, Heroism - real and perceived, Family - blessing or curse
  • Widely available

Fish for Jimmy: Inspired by One Family's Experience in a Japanese American Internment Camp, written and illustrated by Katie Yamasaki, is based on the author's great-grandfather's family experience at the Granada camp in Amache, Colorado. This picture book for young readers which expresses in few words an older brother's act of kindness and daring that kept a family strong during their imprisonment.

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Dash (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8
  • Children's, History
  • Companionship as salvation, Evils of racism, Displacement, Heartbreak of betrayal
  • Widely available

Dash, Kirby Larson's book for 4-6 grade readers, tells the story of 11-year-old Mitsi Kashino and how the love for her dog Dash gives her strength while she and her family are sent to an incarceration camp.

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A Diamond in the Desert (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Disillusionment and dreams, Forgiveness, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Widely available

Novel for children centering on Tetsuo Kishi, a teenager at the Gila River, Arizona, concentration camp who finds solace in baseball.

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The Japanese Internment Camps: A History Perspectives Book (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Children's, History
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Available

Children's book on the wartime removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans that focuses on Manzanar and tells its story through three first-person accounts.

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Japanese-American Internment in American History (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Young Adult, History
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Hazards of passing judgment, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Available

Non-fiction overview of the incarceration experience written for middle school readers. One of the relatively few such books written for this age group, it is part of Enslow Publishers' "In American History" series.

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So Far from the Sea (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's
  • Change versus tradition, Death – inevitable or tragedy, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Injustice, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Children's picture book by Eve Bunting about a Japanese American family's pilgrimage to Manzanar in 1972.

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The Internment of the Japanese (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Young Adult, History
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Available

Overview book by Diane Yancey on the wartime forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans for middle school audiences that is part of Lucent Books "World History Series."

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The Children of Topaz: The Story of the Japanese-American Internment Camp (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's
  • Companionship as salvation, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Loss of innocence
  • Widely available

Children's book by Michael O. Tunnell and George W. Chilcoat based on a class diary kept by a 3rd grade teacher at Topaz.

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Lucky Ears: The True Story of Ben Kuroki, World War II Hero (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Biography
  • Patriotism – positive side or complications, Role of men, Heroism – real and perceived, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Widely available

Biography of Nisei war hero Ben Kuroki, written for a fourth grade audience.

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The Journey (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 3-5
  • Picture Book, Children's
  • Evils of racism, Expression through art, Power of the past
  • Widely available

A children's book by Sansei author and artist Sheila Hamanaka, published by Orchard Books in 1990. The Journey: Japanese Americans, Racism and Renewal is based on a 25-foot mural painted by Hamanaka that mixes the history of Japanese Americans with an emphasis on the American concentration camps of World War II with her own family's experience using a mixture of Japanese iconography, realism and caricature. The book features both close-ups of the mural as well as a panoramic view of all five panels, which are accompanied by the author's text, giving her perspective on history, tradition, and hope. It also includes a preface and afterword reflecting on these themes.

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The Cat Who Chose to Dream (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Children's
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Facing darkness, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Children's picture book about a cat who accompanies his Japanese American family to an American concentration camp during World War II.

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Barbed Wire Baseball (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Children's
  • Empowerment, Individual versus society, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Children's picture book by Marissa Moss with illustrations by Yuko Shimizu that focuses on the true story of Kenichi Zenimura, an Issei baseball pioneer who builds a baseball field in the Gila River concentration camp.

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Paper Wishes (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Lost love, Power of silence
  • Widely available

Children's novel by Lois Sepahban centering on a young girl from Bainbridge Island, Washington, who turns mute when she and her family are uprooted and sent to Manzanar.

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