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

Creators: Gail Sakurai

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.


An expansively illustrated 48-page book, Japanese American Internment Camps provides a very brief overview of the incarceration topic and its aftermath. The book has no chapters, but is divided into ten sections, each of which is only a few pages in length:" Pearl Harbor," "War Hysteria," " Executive Order 9066 ," "Temporary Assembly Centers ," "Permanent Relocation Centers," " Military Service ," " Loyalty Questionnaire ," "Leaving the Camps," " Returning Home ," and "Correcting Injustices." Author Gail Sakurai incorporates the stories of Daniel Inouye , Yoshiko Uchida , and George Takei into the narrative, quoting from each's memoirs.

Beyond the main text, there is also a glossary, an illustrated timeline, and a short list of additional resources. There are nearly as many pictures as pages, and some of the older ones are tinted.

Additional Information

Author Gail Sakurai (1952– ) was born in Detroit as Gail Kwentus and married Eric Sakurai in 1971. She began writing professionally after working at various jobs and raising two children, publishing her first book in 1994. "I specialize in writing nonfiction and retelling folktales from many lands," she told Contemporary Authors Online . "Through reading I developed an interest in other countries and cultures at an early age. I have studied French, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese, and have traveled widely." Sakurai's books are aimed at an elementary school audience. Japanese American Internment Camps was her twelfth book.

While the book is mostly accurate historically, it suffers from many instances of over-generalization, no doubt because of its brevity and intended audience. Some examples of this: noting that the army declared "the West Coast states of California, Oregon Washington, and Arizona... a restricted military zone" (page 11) without further mentioning that there were two type of restricted area and that not all of Japanese Americans were removed from these states; claiming that "120,000 Japanese Americans were removed from their homes on the West Coast...." (16; while a total of 120,000 Japanese Americans served time in War Relocation Authority (WRA) concentration camps, closer to 110,000 were removed from the West Coast, since the larger number includes some 6,000 who were born in the camps, those brought over from Hawai'i, and other categories of later arrivals); claiming blocks contained "fourteen military-style barracks" and units had a "wood-burning stove" (20; while true in some cases the number of barracks in a block varied from twelve to twenty-four depending on the camp, and in some camps, the stoves burned coal or oil); and claiming that "Japanese American workers received between $16 and $21 a month..." (25; the lowest paid workers got $12 a month).

Among the errors: "In 1923 non-citizens were forbidden to own land...." (8; probably a reference to the 1913 California alien land law , which prohibited only "aliens ineligible for citizenship" to own land); : "...there was never a single confirmed case of spying or treason by a Japanese American during World War II" (11; though of questionable validity, there were a number of Japanese American treason cases—see Iva Toguri , Tomoya Kawakita , and the Shitara Sisters ); "All mail was censored...." (20, mail to and from the WRA camps was not routinely censored with the main exception being communication with those held in army or Justice Department-run internment camps); "Head counts took place twice a day..." (22, while true in the "assembly centers," this did not occur in the WRA camps).

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like The Japanese American Internment: An Interactive History Adventure by Rachael Hanel; Barbed Wire Baseball by Marissa Moss; Fred Korematsu Speaks Up by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi

Media Details
Author Gail Sakurai
Pages 48
Publication Date 2002