Prisoners of the Empire: Educators' Guide (curricula)
Creators: Random House
This guide, produced by Random House is for the Prisoners of the Empire series of four books by Graham Salisbury of which Under the Blood-Red Sun is the first title. These young adult novels focus on Japanese Americans in Hawai'i during World War II. The other titles in the series are Eyes of the Emperor , House of the Red Fish , and Hunt for the Bamboo Rat .
After images of the books' cover art, the guide opens with a short synopsis of each novel. Before reading the book(s), the guide suggests an activity centered around Executive Order 9066 , which allowed for the mass removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans on the West Coast of the United States (but not in Hawai'i). This learning activity can be used as a lead in for any of the books as it sets a context for the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. However, it is somewhat curious given that the novels focus on Japanese Americans living in Hawai'i, who were not as a group, forcibly removed from their homes and imprisoned because of their cultural ancestry. In fact, the local Hawaiian authorities decided that Japanese Americans should not be incarcerated as they comprised 37% of the population and it would be both impractical and damaging to the economy to do so.
The guide presents several pages of discussion questions; these address comprehension of plot and thematic elements along with author intent and style. Note that some discussion questions apply to all books in the series and some are specific to one or two of the titles. There are nine student learning activities all correlated to Common Core standards. Most of these activities are not book specific, but focus more on understanding the history of the Japanese American World War II experience including: reflecting on historic photos from the Tule Lake camp, doing research on the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (all Japanese American military unit), analyzing the design of the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, and writing about restitution and reparations related to the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 .
A vocabulary section mentions particular words with page number references from each book and suggests that students use context clues to develop definitions. This is followed by an annotated bibliography of related internet resources. The guide ends with an interview with the author who shares how his childhood experience connects with these stories, what it's like to have Under the Blood-Red Sun made into a film, and how books like these can help students make sense of war and tragedy.
For More Information
Educators' guide (PDF): http://www.randomhouse.com/teachers/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/UnderBloodSun_TeacherEdition_WEB.pdf .
Related Reader's Guide (PDF): https://www.randomhouse.com/teachers/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Under-the-Blood-Red-sun.pdf .