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Browse > Reading Level > Grades 3-5

43 articles

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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The Internment of the Japanese (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Young Adult, History
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Available

Overview book by Diane Yancey on the wartime forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans for middle school audiences that is part of Lucent Books "World History Series."

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Heroes (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Picture Book
  • War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Growing up - pain or pleasure, Heroism - real and perceived
  • Widely available

Children's picture book by Ken Mochizuki and illustrated by Dom Lee about a young boy facing Asian stereotypes and bullying in the postwar years. Donnie Okada is continually made to play the part of the "enemy" in war games with friends, even as he tries to explain that his father and uncles served on the American side. A school visit by Donnie's father and uncle in their uniforms and medals changes the way he and his friends view their histories.

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Lucky Ears: The True Story of Ben Kuroki, World War II Hero (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Biography
  • Patriotism – positive side or complications, Role of men, Heroism – real and perceived, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Widely available

Biography of Nisei war hero Ben Kuroki , written for a fourth grade audience.

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The Journal of Ben Uchida: Citizen 13559, Mirror Lake Internment Camp (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Convention and rebellion, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Injustice
  • Widely available

Chapter book for children by Barry Denenberg in the form of a journal by a young Nisei boy covering the first ten months of incarceration at the fictitious "Mirror Lake Internment Camp."

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The Cat Who Chose to Dream (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Children's
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Facing darkness, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Children's picture book about a cat who accompanies his Japanese American family to an American concentration camp during World War II.

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The Journey (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 3-5
  • Picture Book, Children's
  • Evils of racism, Expression through art, Power of the past
  • Widely available

A children's book by Sansei author and artist Sheila Hamanaka, published by Orchard Books in 1990. The Journey: Japanese Americans, Racism and Renewal is based on a 25-foot mural painted by Hamanaka that mixes the history of Japanese Americans with an emphasis on the American concentration camps of World War II with her own family's experience using a mixture of Japanese iconography, realism and caricature. The book features both close-ups of the mural as well as a panoramic view of all five panels, which are accompanied by the author's text, giving her perspective on history, tradition, and hope. It also includes a preface and afterword reflecting on these themes.

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Barbed Wire Baseball (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Children's
  • Empowerment, Individual versus society, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Children's picture book by Marissa Moss with illustrations by Yuko Shimizu that focuses on the true story of Kenichi Zenimura , an Issei baseball pioneer who builds a baseball field in the Gila River concentration camp.

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Home of the Brave (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Children's
  • Injustice, Knowledge versus ignorance, Power of the past, Progress – real or illusion
  • Widely available

Children's picture book by Allen Say inspired by the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

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Flowers from Mariko (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Growing up – pain or pleasure, Heartbreak of betrayal, Optimism – power or folly, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Picture book for children about a Japanese American family's World War II incarceration and difficulties in restarting their lives after the war, told from the perspective of a young girl of about nine of ten. Mariko, her little sister Emi, and their parents live in Los Angeles before the war, where their father works as a gardener. When they are forced to leave, he leaves his gardening truck and equipment with their landlord. When Japanese Americans are allowed to return to the West Coast in 1945, the family makes plans to return. However their father finds that his truck and equipment have been sold, and the former landlord is nowhere to be found. The family is forced to live in a government-run trailer park upon their return, and her father is unable to find work. One day, he finds some old equipment in the trash, along with some flower seeds. ...

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How Did This Happen Here?: Japanese Internment Camps (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Hazards of passing judgment, Injustice
  • Available

Short overview picture book on the wartime removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans aimed at an elementary school audience.

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The Invisible Thread (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Memoir, Children's
  • Immigrant experience, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Expression through art, Facing darkness, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Widely available

Memoir for young adult readers by the acclaimed children's book author that covers her charmed childhood in Berkeley, California, and her wartime incarceration during World War II.

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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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Justice Denied: A History of the Japanese in the United States (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • History, Children's
  • Evils of racism, Immigrant experience, Injustice, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Limited availability

Early overview of the history of Japanese Americans for young readers by British author/activist Jennifer Cross.

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Fred Korematsu Speaks Up (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Children's, History
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Widely available

Book for middle school audiences on Fred Korematsu , who challenged the forced removal of Japanese Americans during World War II.

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The Japanese in America (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5
  • History
  • Empowerment, Evils of racism, Immigrant experience, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Available

Overview book for children on the history of Japanese Americans from the 1860s to the 1990s. First published in 1967 as one of the first books for children on Japanese Americans, it saw revised versions in 1974 and 1991.

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When Justice Failed: The Fred Korematsu Story (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Biography
  • Convention and rebellion, Heroism – real and perceived, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Power of the past
  • Available

Biography for children of activist and exclusion challenger Fred Korematsu by journalist Steven A. Chin.

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The Bracelet (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Children's
  • Growing up – pain or pleasure, Importance of community, Self-awareness, Will to survive
  • Widely available

A children's picture book by Nisei author Yoshiko Uchida , with illustrations by Joanne Yardley, originally published in 1993. The Bracelet is a story derived from the author's own childhood experiences in an American concentration camp during World War II. The book opens as seven-year-old Emi, her mother and sister prepare to leave their home in Berkeley, California, for Tanforan , a racetrack that has been converted into a temporary camp for Japanese Americans. Emi's best friend, Laurie Madison, brings her a gold bracelet as a farewell gift, and as a reminder of the value of their friendship. Emi vows that she will never take it off, but as she helps clean out the filthy horse stable that will serve has her family's "apartment," the gold chain slips off her wrist and is lost. At first, she is desolate, but Emi eventually realizes that she does not need the bracelet ...

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Children of the Relocation Camps (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Children's, History
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Injustice
  • Available

Picture book for elementary school children that tells the story of the wartime removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans from a children's perspective. The book was named a Carter G. Woodson Elementary Level Honor Book in 2001.

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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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Journey Home (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Young Adult
  • Evils of racism, Family - blessing or curse, Importance of community
  • Available

Novel for young adults about a Japanese American family leaving the concentration camps and eventually returning to their home by prolific author Yoshiko Uchida, written as a sequel her 1971 book Journey to Topaz .

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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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Bat 6 (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8
  • Children's, Sports
  • Character - destruction, building up, Forgiveness
  • Widely available

Set in 1949, two small towns in Oregon are rivals in the girls' softball game of the year, Bat 6 (1998). On the Bear Creek Ridge team, Aki Mikami is the new girl is who has just returned after being "sent away to a camp" with her family since 1942. All the 6th grade girls were too young to remember Aki and her family leaving, and the adults would talk in whispers amongst themselves about what happened, but not to the children. Aki is shy but she is an amazing ball player (her mother was MVP for Bat 6 in 1930) and girls take to her immediately. The opposing Bat 6 team, Barlow, also recruits a talented new player named Shazam—a troubled girl who has come to live with her grandmother. She hates the Japanese because her father was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. The ballgame culminates in ...

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In America's Shadow (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Children's
  • Patriotism – positive side or complications, Power of the past
  • Available

Children's picture book by Kimberley Komatsu and Kaleigh Komatsu told from the perspective of a young girl recounting her family's wartime incarceration story.

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Japanese American Journey: The Story of a People (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • History, Children's
  • Empowerment, Fulfillment, Heartbreak of betrayal, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Progress – real or illusion
  • Available

Overview work for children on the Japanese American experience produced by the Japanese American Curriculum Project (JACP) in 1985. Consisting of a historical overview, eleven biographies of notable Japanese Americans, and three short stories, Japanese American Journey was adapted from a 1970 JACP publication titled Japanese Americans: The Untold Story .

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