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The Japanese Internment Camps: A History Perspectives Book (book)

Creators: Rachel A. Bailey

Children's book on the wartime removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans that focuses on Manzanar and tells its story through three first-person accounts.


The Japanese Internment Camps: A History Perspectives Book consists of three first-person accounts, two by Manzanar inmates and one by a teacher at Manzanar. "Helen Watanabe" is a young girl who is removed to Manzanar with her parents and younger brother and enters the fourth grade there. She describes their forced removal on short notice and life in the camp, until their departure in 1945. "Mas Yubu" was a UCLA student whose father was arrested by the FBI after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Along with his mother and brother, he is removed to Manzanar, where his father soon joins them. He eventually volunteers for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and serves in Europe. "Grace Jones" is a recent college graduate who takes a job as a teacher at Manzanar, where she remains until 1945.

The main text is augmented with various prompts—"Think About It," "Analyze This," and "Second Source"—that align with Common Core standards. There is also a "Look, Look Again" exercise focusing on a photograph of a chaotic " assembly center " arrival scene, along with a glossary and list of additional resources.

Additional Information

Author Rachel Ann Bailey grew up in a small Kansas town and became a gifted education teacher in Kansas. After writing for children's magazines, she became a freelance writer of children's books and articles as well as lesson plans. She is based in Missouri.

Though it is not indicated in the book, the three main characters seem to be fictional or composite characters, as their names and information don't correspond to any actual Manzanar inmates. The portrait photographs of the two Japanese American characters are taken from Ansel Adams ' photographs of actual Manzanar inmates Louise Tami Nakamura and Corporal Jimmy Shohara.

As one of the few children's book to be vetted by a professional historian—in this case Greg Robinson of l'Université du Québec À Montréal—it is historically accurate. Though devoid of errors, a couple of scenarios are unlikely, though perhaps possible: white teacher Jones living in the same barracks room with Japanese American inmates for several months and returning veteran Yubu moving back into Manzanar after being discharged from the army.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho
Media Details
Author Rachel A. Bailey
Pages 32
Publication Date 2014