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Browse > Reading Level > Grades 3-5

44 articles

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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Fred Korematsu Speaks Up (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Children's, History
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Widely available

Book for middle school audiences on Fred Korematsu, who challenged the forced removal of Japanese Americans during World War II.

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In America's Shadow (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Children's
  • Patriotism – positive side or complications, Power of the past
  • Available

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.

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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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Our Burden of Shame: Japanese-American Internment During World War II (book)

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

Book by Susan Sinnott on the wartime forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans intended for a middle-school audience and published by Franklin Watts in 1995.

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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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The Journal of Ben Uchida: Citizen 13559, Mirror Lake Internment Camp (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Convention and rebellion, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Injustice
  • Widely available

Chapter book for children by Barry Denenberg in the form of a journal by a young Nisei boy covering the first ten months of incarceration at the fictitious "Mirror Lake Internment Camp."

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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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Bob Sakata: American Farmer (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Biography, Children's
  • Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Injustice, Role of men, Coming of age
  • Available

Biography for children by Daniel Blegen about a Nisei farmer in Colorado that covers his wartime incarceration in an American concentration camp.

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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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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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Home of the Brave (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Children's
  • Injustice, Knowledge versus ignorance, Power of the past, Progress – real or illusion
  • Widely available

Children's picture book by Allen Say inspired by the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

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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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Painting the Rainbow (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Family – blessing or curse, Coming of age, Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • Widely available

Coming-of-age novel for young readers about two thirteen-year old cousins at a New England family summer retreat in 1965 who grapple with both their changing relationship and with the discovery of family secrets stemming from the World War II period that tangentially involve the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans.

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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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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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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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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 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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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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Heroes (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Picture Book
  • War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Growing up - pain or pleasure, Heroism - real and perceived
  • Widely available

Children's picture book by Ken Mochizuki and illustrated by Dom Lee about a young boy facing Asian stereotypes and bullying in the postwar years. Donnie Okada is continually made to play the part of the "enemy" in war games with friends, even as he tries to explain that his father and uncles served on the American side. A school visit by Donnie's father and uncle in their uniforms and medals changes the way he and his friends view their histories.

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The Invisible Thread (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Memoir, Children's
  • Immigrant experience, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Expression through art, Facing darkness, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Widely available

Memoir for young adult readers by the acclaimed children's book author that covers her charmed childhood in Berkeley, California, and her wartime incarceration during World War II.

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Journey Home (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Young Adult
  • Evils of racism, Family - blessing or curse, Importance of community
  • Available

Novel for young adults about a Japanese American family leaving the concentration camps and eventually returning to their home by prolific author Yoshiko Uchida, written as a sequel her 1971 book Journey to 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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