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Browse > Reading Level > Grades 9-12

35 articles

The Japanese American Internment: Innocence, Guilt, and Wartime Justice (book)

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

Overview of the wartime removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans by Ann Heinrichs that is part of Marshall Cavendish Benchmark's "Perspectives on... " series.

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A Boy No More (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Young Adult, History
  • Coming of age, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Widely available

A 2004 young adult novel by Harry Mazer about Adam Pelko, who is torn between grieving his father, who died on the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and his feelings of loyalty towards his Japanese American best friend, Devi, whose own father has been arrested and taken to the War Relocation Authority camp in Manzanar, California. When Devi asks Adam to help him find his father, Adam is faced with a moral conflict: should he risk both his own safety and his friendship in order to do what is right? He is also still deeply affected by the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the urge to scapegoat the Japanese Americans, despite his urge to help and defend his friend.

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Take What You Can Carry (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Young Adult
  • Coming of age, Individual versus society, Vulnerability of the strong, Wisdom of experience
  • Widely available

The lives of two older teen boys, Kyle and Ken, alternate stories in the graphic novel Take What You Can Carry (2012) by Kevin C. Pyle. Although experienced a generation apart, the stories of these two teens merge into a complete story of healing and redemption.

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Burma Rifles: A Story of Merrill's Marauders (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Historical Fiction, Children's
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Injustice, Vulnerability of the strong, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Limited availability

Book for young readers by Frank Bonham centering on a Nisei intelligence soldier in Burma during World War II. Published in 1960, it is among the first children's books to depict the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans.

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A Question of Loyalty/The Betrayed (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Limited availability

Play authored by Nisei playwright Hiroshi Kashiwagi set in Tule Lake and centered on the dilemmas brought on by the loyalty questionnaire. The main characters are Tak Fujimoto, a country boy loosely based on the playwright, and Grace Tamura, a sophisticated city girl from Seattle, who fall in love in the concentration camp. But they are divided by the loyalty questions and go their separate ways. The play's second act is set forty years later, when Grace, a widowed redress activist from Chicago, visits Tak, a divorced farmer in Fresno, prior to a camp reunion.

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American in Disguise (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Identity crisis, Wisdom of experience
  • Available

American in Disguise is Daniel Okimoto's account of his search for identity in America and Japan. The book was originally published in 1971 by John Weatherhill, Inc, with a foreword by James Michener.

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Korematsu v. United States: Japanese-American Internment (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12
  • Grades 9-12
  • Young Adult, History
  • Convention and rebellion, Evils of racism, Individual versus society, Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Available

Overview of the Korematsu Supreme Court case—as well as the related Hirabayashi, Yasui, and Endo cases—as part of Marshall Cavendish Benchmark's "Supreme Court Milestones" series.

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Home Again (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Character - destruction and building up, Displacement, Evils of racism
  • Available

A 1955 novel authored by a former War Relocation Authority (WRA) official that tells the epic story of one Japanese American family from California, covering their prewar travails, their wartime incarceration, and their return to California after the war. The book was heavily promoted particularly within the Japanese American community and widely reviewed.

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Korematsu v. The United States: World War II Japanese-American Internment Camps (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 9-12
  • Young Adult, History
  • Convention and rebellion, Evils of racism, Individual versus society, Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Available

Book for young adult readers on the Korematsu v. U.S. Supreme Court case by Karen Latchana Kenney. The 160 page volume is part of ABDO Publishing Company's "Landmark Supreme Court Cases" series of eight books.

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Desert Exile (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Biography, Non fiction
  • Injustice, Displacement, Evils of racism
  • Widely available

Desert Exile: The Uprooting of a Japanese-American Family is an autobiography by noted children's book author Yoshiko Uchida that chronicles her experiences in the years before and during her incarceration in an American concentration camp during World War II. It was originally published in 1982 by the University of Washington Press and reissued with a new introduction by Traise Yamamoto in 2015.

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The Nisei Monologues: Children of the Camps (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 9-12
  • Grades 9-12
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Hazards of passing judgment, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • No availability

Three actor play in which the actors give monologues adapted from actual words of Japanese Americans about incarceration, covering the range of the experience from witnessing Japanese planes flying overhead to attack Pearl Harbor, to the arrests of Issei community leaders, the roundup of Japanese Americans, and resistance and cooperation in the concentration camps. Though most pieces are not attributed, first person narratives by Min Yasui, James Sakamoto, and Joe Kurihara are noted. In between the monologues are stories from Japanese mythology and statements by various government officials both in support of and opposing the forced removal and incarceration.

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Gaijin: American Prisoner of War (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Graphic novels
  • Coming of age, Displacement, Isolation
  • Widely available

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner is the story of a hapa teenage boy's struggle living in post December 7 San Francisco, California. 13-year-old Koji Miyamoto discovers that life being biracial (his mother Adeline is white and his father Ichiro is Japanese) is just as difficult inside an incarceration camp as it was outside in the city after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Written for 5th through 8th grade readers, this graphic novel has a distinctive style of elongated caricatures colored with dark reds, yellows, blues, and browns.

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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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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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A Teacher's Resource for Farewell to Manzanar (curricula)

  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-9, Grades 9-12
  • Coming of age, Displacement, Evils of racism, Family - blessing or curse, Growing up - pain or pleasure, Identity crisis, Injustice
  • Widely available

This study guide developed in 1999 by Facing History and Ourselves with Voices of Love and Freedom is part of the "Witness to History" series that examines a literary work confronting the complexity of history particularly around issues of prejudice and discrimination. It is based on the 1973 edition of Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston. In this memoir, Wakatsuki Houston traces her family experiences during World War II, when because of their Japanese ancestry, they are incarcerated at Manzanar, a concentration camp in the California desert.

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I Call to Remembrance: Toyo Suyemoto's Years of Internment (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Rights - individual or societal, Motherhood, Displacement
  • Widely available

The memoir of poet Toyo Suyemoto that spans her years of incarceration in Tanforan Assembly Center and later, at Topaz in Utah, from spring 1942 to late autumn 1945. The book, published in 2007 by Rutgers University Press, focuses on the quotidian life in an American concentration camp, while coping both physically and psychologically with the brutality of imprisonment behind barbed wire. The book is dedicated to Suyemoto's son Kay and details his short life from birth in Berkeley, California, to his first steps at Tanforan in a crowded horse stall, and finally to Utah where he developed a serious asthmatic condition and pneumonia in the harsh atmosphere of camp which eventually lead to his premature death. Suyemoto's memoir includes the impact of policies and wartime decisions on her family and the larger Japanese American community, bringing insight on complex and controversial questions of loyalty, citizenship and resistance. She also ...

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A Bridge Between Us (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Coming of age, Role of women
  • Widely available

Critically acclaimed 1995 novel by Julie Shigekuni that is both a multi-generational family saga about a Japanese American family in San Francisco and a coming-of-age novel centered on a fifth-generation Japanese American woman growing up in a four generation household. The story—which includes the family's incarceration at Heart Mountain—is told from the perspectives of four women of different generations who live together in the family home in San Francisco.

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Journey to Washington (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Self-reliance, Patriotism - positive side or complications, Empowerment
  • Limited availability

Ghostwritten autobiography by Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawai'i, authored with Lawrence Elliott and published in 1967. One of the first autobiographies by a Nisei, Journey to Washington was published as Inouye was finishing his first term as a U.S. Senator from Hawai'i and preparing to run for reelection. The book covers his life up to that time, beginning with his grandfather leaving Japan to come to America to pay off a debt and ending with his father visiting the White House to visit President John. F. Kennedy. A success story that established a template for many Nisei memoirs to come, the book reinforced the "model minority" narrative then current. Reader's Digest also excerpted the book in its February 1968 issue. The book includes three forewords, by President Lyndon Johnson, Vice-President Hubert Humphrey, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield.

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Stanley Hayami, Nisei Son (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Evils of racism, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Role of men, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Book built around the wartime diary and letters of Stanley Hayami that document his incarceration at the Heart Mountain, Wyoming, concentration camp and his military service in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

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California Generation (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Coming of age, Identity crisis
  • Limited availability

Popular 1970 novel by Jacqueline Briskin that follows a group of students from the class of 1960 at fictitious California High—one of them a Sansei born in Topaz—through the touchstone events of the turbulent decade. Though a first novel, California Generation was widely promoted and launched Briskin's career as a best-selling novelist.

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Farewell to Manzanar Educational Kit (curricula)

  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Memoir, Drama, History
  • Coming of age, Displacement, Evils of racism, Family - blessing or curse, Growing up - pain or pleasure, Injustice, Patriotism - positive side or complications, Power of the past
  • Limited availability (kit), widely available (book, teaching guide and film)

In 2003, the Farewell to Manzanar Education Initiative distributed 10,000 copies of the Farewell to Manzanar Educational Kit to California public schools and public libraries. The kit consists of the book, Farewell to Manzanar and Related Readings (1998), a teaching guide for the book (1998), a VHS cassette of the Farewell to Manzanar made-for-television movie (1976) with an additional 35-minute classroom version, and a video study guide (2002). Separate elements of the kit are available for purchase (except for the video study guide).

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Gasa Gasa Girl Goes to Camp (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir, Art
  • Coming of age, Expression through art, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Immigrant experience, Oppression of women
  • Widely available

Concentration camp memoir by a Nisei artist. Ten years old at the time of the wartime incarceration, Lily Yuriko Nakai Havey was sent to Santa Anita Assembly Center and Amache with her older brother and Issei parents. Evolving from captions that accompanied displays of the author's postwar paintings, Gasa Gasa Girl intersperses stories of life in the camps with recollections of happier days with her parents, brother, and aunts in Hollywood, California, before the war. The book is illustrated by twenty-eight color reproductions of her watercolor paintings that depict both her external and internal lives during the war, as well as a like number of family photographs, archival photographs, and photographs of key objects mentioned in the text. Published by the University of Utah Press, the book includes an foreword by historian Cherstin Lyon.

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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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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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Resistance at Tule Lake (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Power of the past
  • Limited availability

Documentary film that tells the story of the Tule Lake concentration camp, with a focus on the post-segregation period, through interviews with former inmates, archival images, and scenes from contemporary pilgrimages.

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