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Browse > Theme > Growing up – pain or pleasure

39 articles

Alice and the Bear (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Companionship as salvation, Desire to escape, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Short story by Kiyoshi Parker about an old woman whose trip to a Little Tokyo store with her great-granddaughter brings back memories of her camp experience. Alice Miyamoto visits Little Tokyo in Los Angeles for the first time in thirty years with her family. After lunch, her daughter suggests they go visit the Go For Broke Monument. But on the way, her four-year-old great-granddaughter drags her into a store and picks up a stuffed Totoro toy. Alice is immediately reminded of a stuffed bear she had as a child of about the same age that was her constant companion when she was in an unspecified 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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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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Crossroads: Boyle Heights (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Importance of community, Immigrant experience, Working class struggles, Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • Widely available

A documentary film compiled from life histories of past and present residents of Boyle Heights, a working-class neighborhood east of downtown Los Angeles. From the 1920s-1950s, Boyle Heights was a racially and ethnically diverse home to immigrants from Mexico, Japan, England, Germany, Russia and Armenia as well as people from the east, the south and the southwest portions of the United States who lived, worked and worshiped in the area. The film also explores how the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans and their postwar return affected businesses and friendships. While many Japanese Americans faced hostility in other parts of Los Angeles, residents of Boyle Heights share stories of a deeper empathy with the plight of those incarcerated. Crossroads: Boyle Heights was originally produced to accompany the exhibition Boyle Heights: The Power of Place (2002) at the Japanese American National Museum.

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Beyond Loyalty: The Story of a Kibei (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Memoir
  • Evils of racism, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Individual versus society, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy, Self – inner and outer
  • Widely available

Memoir of Kibei scholar Minoru Kiyota (1923–2013) that focuses on the difficult World War II years that saw him incarcerated in American concentration camps and eventually renouncing his U.S. citizenship. Originally published as a Japanese language autobiographical novel in 1990, it was translated and reworked into an English language memoir published in 1997 by the University of Hawai'i Press.

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The Bracelet (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 3-5, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Coming of age, Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • Limited availability

Short educational film that demonstrates the use of a popular children's book in an elementary school classroom. Patty Nagano, a teacher at Bret Harte Elementary School in the Alhambra, California, School District, begins by asking the class—which appears to consist of second or third graders—if they have experienced someone close to them moving away and listens as several children talk about their memories of such an experience. She then briefly explains what happened to Japanese Americans during World War II and reads the Yoshiko Uchida book The Bracelet to the class. As she reads, images of the class and Joanna Yardley's illustrations are augmented by archival photographs of the mass removal and incarceration, along with sound effects. After finishing the book, Nagano engages the class in a series of activities: asking them for their initial reactions to the book and answering questions about her and her family's experience; showing the ...

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Otoko (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Immigrant experience, Loss of innocence, Role of men, Vulnerability of the meek
  • Widely available

Short story by Wakako Yamauchi centering on a Nisei brother and sister who recall their father and their family's prewar and wartime hardships while listening to Japanese folksongs. On the longest day of the year one summer, Kiyo visits his sister, the narrator, bringing a record of Japanese children's songs. The act of listening to the songs triggers memories of their early years. Once relatively prosperous, their fortunes turn dire quickly when their father loses his job. He becomes a tenant farmer, but can't make enough to support the family. Kiyo recalls a time when he went with his father to visit a friend, Kiyo thinks, to ask to borrow money. The narrator recalls working as a "school girl" with a white family for a few months, returning to find her family living in a tent, her little sister's teeth rotting, and her father suffering from a stomach ailment. Later, ...

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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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When You're Smiling: The Deadly Legacy of Internment (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Family – blessing or curse, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Identity crisis, Power of the past
  • Available

Autobiographical film by Janice D. Tanaka about growing up Sansei in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s amidst parental silence about their wartime incarceration. It was one of several films about aspects of the incarceration funded by the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund.

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We the People: The Stage Production (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Loss of innocence, Power of tradition
  • Available

Short film that documents the performance of the elementary school age students of Jan Ken Po Gakko in Sacramento on July 20, 2000. The production is highlighted by a play performed by the students based on Mary Tsukamoto and Elizabeth Pinkerton's book We the People.

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Floating Home (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Facing reality, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Reunion, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Short story about a family returning to Little Tokyo from Rohwer. When fourteen-year-old Mari returns home with her parents, she expects to go to their old house, but is dismayed when they go to a run down residential hotel instead. Her father explains to her that they had rented the house they had lived in before the war, and they it was now being rented to someone else. Mari decides to walk to the house to take a last look. She finds an African American girl about her age on the swing in front. Initially suspicious, the girl becomes friendlier when Mari tells her why she and her family had to leave and invites her inside.

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Under the Blood Red Sun (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 6-8
  • Historical Fiction, Young Adult
  • Coming of age, Companionship as salvation, Growing up – pain or pleasure, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Acclaimed novel for young adults set in the early months of World War II told through the eyes of a teenage Nisei protagonist in Honolulu whose father and grandfather are both interned. The novel was made into a feature film in 2014. It was followed by a sequel, House of the Red Fish, in 2006.

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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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Take Me Home: A Child's Experience of Internment (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Power of the past
  • Available

Short educational film that explores the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans from a child's perspective.

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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 Crystal City Story: One Family's Experience with the World War II Japanese Internment Camps (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Immigrant experience, Reunion
  • Available

Self-published memoir by Tomo Izumi about her family's internment in the Crystal City, Texas, internment camp and her life before and after the war in a small plantation town on the Big Island of Hawai'i.

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Heart Mountain: An All American Town (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Growing up – pain or pleasure, Injustice, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Documentary film on the Heart Mountain, Wyoming, concentration camp written, produced and directed by Raechel Donahue that focuses on the experiences of the children in the camp.

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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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Farewell to Manzanar (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama, History
  • Evils of racism, Family – blessing or curse, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Power of the past
  • Available

Made-for-television movie about a Japanese American family in Manzanar during World War II. Based on the book of the same name by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston, Farewell to Manzanar aired nationally on NBC stations on March 11, 1976, and remains one of the few mainstream dramatic films centered on the Japanese American concentration camp experience.

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Dear Miss Breed (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Evils of racism, Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • No availability

Play about a San Diego librarian who corresponded with incarcerated Japanese American children during World War II. Playwright Joanne Oppenheim adapted Dear Miss Breed from her children's book Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference.

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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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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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One-Two-One-Seven (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Family – blessing or curse, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Documentary film by Brett Kodama about the experiences of his grandmother, Sharon Shizuko Okazaki Kodama, at Manzanar. Just three years old when she and her family were forcibly removed from their Southern California home and sent to Manzanar, Okazaki Kodama's Issei father killed her Kibei mother in September 1942. She and her older sister spent the rest of the war at the Manzanar Children's Village, the camp orphanage. They were raised after the war by an aunt and uncle in Washington state. Okazaki Kodama recalls her memories of the camp and the orphanage, talks about her parents' deaths and reflects on the impact on the incarceration over visuals that include archival photographs and footage, photographs from her own family album, and images of the Manzanar National Historic Site today. The title refers to the Okazaki's family number at Manzanar.

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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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Some Lines for a Younger Brother... (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Death – inevitable or tragedy, Disillusionment and dreams, Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • Limited availability

First person recollection of the author's younger brother centering on the impact the World War II incarceration had on him. The youngest of eight children, Tets was doted on by his older siblings, but devastated when his father died when he was eight. A few years later, he had become a demoralized teenager in Manzanar who began skipping high school classes upon his return to Los Angeles after the war. Joining the army to see the world, he is almost at the end of his hitch when the Korean War breaks out. Sent into combat, he is killed in action. Years later, the author recalls attending the first Manzanar Pilgrimage and seeing the image of Tets as a child once again.

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