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Browse > Theme > Coming of age

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

  • 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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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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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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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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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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Kim/Kimi (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 6-8
  • Children's, Young Adult
  • Coming of age, Identity crisis, Quest for discovery
  • Widely available

Kim/Kimi (1987) by Hadley Irwin explores one teen's quest to discover herself by finding out about her father's past. Kimi Yogushi, who is more commonly known as Kim Anderson, has an Irish American mother. Kim's father Kenji, who had died before she was born, was Japanese American. Sixteen-year-old Kim happily lives with her family in an all-white community in Iowa but she begins to want to know more about the Japanese American part of her identity. Her mother finally tells Kim that Kenji had been disowned by his family for marrying outside his race.

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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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A Girl Like You (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Evils of racism, Family – blessing or curse, Importance of community, Motherhood, Quest for discovery, Role of women
  • Available

Coming-of-age novel by Maureen Lindley that takes place largely in Manzanar and whose protagonist is a mixed-race Sansei girl.

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The War Outside (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 7-8
  • Young Adult, History
  • Coming of age, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Loss of innocence
  • Widely available

Young adult novel by Monica Hesse that tells a complex story of a friendship between two teenage girls, one Japanese American and one German American, in the Crystal City internment camp in the fall of 1944.

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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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Tallgrass (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Change versus tradition, Coming of age, Dangers of ignorance, Female roles, Loss of innocence
  • Widely available

Coming-of-age novel by Sandra Dallas set in rural Colorado during World War II when the life of adolescent girl is transformed by the arrival of Japanese Americans from the West Coast in a nearby concentration camp.

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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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And There Are Stories, There Are Stories (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Coming of age, Power of the past, Self – inner and outer
  • Available

Prose poem memoir by Momoko Iko that traces her family's journey out of the concentration camps and her subsequent upbringing away from Japanese American communities on the West Coast. She begins with her birth in 1940 to Issei parents, her fleeting recollections of her family's incarceration, and life after the war, first in Philadelphia, then Chicago . Various stories centering on racism, racial identity, interracial relations, and the legacy of the camps in the 1950s and 1960s follow, tracing the narrator's journey to becoming a writer.

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Good Luck Soup (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Coming of age, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Importance of community, Individual versus society, Power of tradition
  • Widely available

Autobiographical documentary film by Matthew Hashiguchi that explores his and his family's experience growing up as mixed-race Japanese Americans in Cleveland, Ohio. Hashiguchi draws inspiration from his Nisei grandmother and family matriarch Eva Hashiguchi, who settled in Cleveland after leaving the Jerome , Arkansas, concentration camp during World War II and chose to remain there. In addition to the feature length film, the Good Luck Soup project also includes an interactive website that serves as an "participatory storytelling" platform.

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Sushi (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Loss of innocence, Power of the past, Coming of age
  • Limited availability

Short story by Rei Noguchi about a young Japanese American girl who learns about the wartime incarceration from an Issei woman neighbor. It is a cold New Year's Eve in Dover, New Jersey, and Maya Okano has been dispatched by her parents to return a plate to a woman they call Grandmother Okamoto. The older woman, who is making sushi for New Year's, is happy to see the girl and serves her tea. Maya tells Grandmother Okamoto that she doesn't like sushi or Japanese food in general, preferring "American" food. Grandmother Okamoto sends Maya into the bedroom to fetch a can of nori from the dresser; when she does, she sees a little shrine on the dresser and the photograph of a young man in military uniform in front of barracks. When Maya asks, Grandmother Okamoto tells her about her son, who was killed fighting (presumably in the 442nd Regimental …

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By the Hands of a Working Man: A Japanese Background, a Mexican Childhood, an American Life (book)

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

Nisei landscape architect shares his life story, from his childhood in Mexico to his years working in Los Angeles-area nurseries to his wartime experiences in Manzanar and Illinois.

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Blue Skies and Thunder: Farm Boy, Pilot, Inventor, TSA Officer, and WWII Soldier of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Death - inevitable or tragedy, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Facing reality, Family - blessing or curse, Injustice, Loss of innocence, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Available

Mixed race Nisei shares his story, from a tough childhood growing up on a farm in the Midwest to his experiences in combat with the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion during World War II.

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My Life with a Thousand Characters (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Expression through art, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice
  • Available

The creator of numerous Hanna-Barbera characters including those from Scooby Doo tells his life story, including his childhood as a Nisei in Los Angeles and his experience incarcerated at Manzanar concentration camp.

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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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Betrayed Trust: The Story of a Deported Issei and His American-Born Family During World War II (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Heartbreak of betrayal, Identity crisis, Immigrant experience, Losing hope
  • Available

A Nisei shares his family's heart-wrenching experience of wartime incarceration and the complex background behind their decision to go to Japan instead of staying in the U.S. after the end of the war.

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The Shoyu Kid (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Coming of age, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Illusion of power, Loss of innocence, Vulnerability of the meek
  • Widely available

Short story by Lonny Kaneko set in Minidoka centering on three boys who chase and bully a fourth boy, in the process unearthing his molestation by a camp guard. The Seattle-based author had been incarcerated at Minidoka as a child. The Shoyu Kid was originally published in Amerasia Journal in 1976.

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Sideways: Memoir of a Misfit (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Convention and rebellion, Family – blessing or curse, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Available

Memoir of a young Nisei woman who was born in the Minidoka , Idaho, concentration camp. The story focuses on her often strained relationships with her parents, grandparents, and eight siblings in 1950s Chicago.

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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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Beacon Hill Boys (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 7-8
  • Young Adult, Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Convention and rebellion, Family – blessing or curse, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Identity crisis, Power of tradition
  • Available

Novel for young adults by Ken Mochizuki about a Sansei teenager's quest for identity and meaning in 1972 Seattle.

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