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Browse > Theme > Coming of age

73 articles

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 Place to Belong (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Facing darkness, Family – blessing or curse, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Loss of innocence, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Young adult novel by Cynthia Kadohata that tells the story of a Japanese American family's experience in postwar Japan from the perspective of an adolescent female protagonist.

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California Generation (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Coming of age, Identity crisis
  • Limited availability

Popular 1970 novel by Jacqueline Briskin that follows a group of students from the class of 1960 at fictitious California High—one of them a Sansei born in Topaz —through the touchstone events of the turbulent decade. Though a first novel, California Generation was widely promoted and launched Briskin's career as a best-selling novelist.

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Dear Miye: Letters Home from Japan, 1939-1946 (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir, Historical nonfiction
  • Coming of age, Companionship as salvation, Desire to escape, Displacement, Family - blessing or curse, Female roles, Identity crisis, Immigrant experience, Isolation, Loss of innocence, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice, Self-preservation, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Will to survive
  • Available

A collection of letters written by a young Nisei woman in Japan who becomes stuck there during World War II to her best friend who is still in California.

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Passing It On--A Memoir (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice, Rebirth, Rights - individual or societal
  • Available

Leading human rights activist reflects on her life, including her insulated childhood and the wartime incarceration experience that awakened her lifelong commitment to advocacy for all marginalized peoples.

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Camp Nine (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Evils of racism, Power of wealth, Role of women
  • Available

Coming of age novel set in and around "Camp Nine," a fictionalized Japanese American concentration camp based on Rohwer , narrated by a girl from a prominent white family in the adjacent town whose life is transformed by the camp.

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The Lucky Baseball: My Story in a Japanese-American Internment Camp (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Historical fiction, Children's
  • Coming of age, Displacement, Identity crisis
  • Available

A Japanese American boy is forcibly removed from his home in Southern California and incarcerated in a concentration camp but learns important life lessons through continuing to play baseball.

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Prisoners of the Empire: Educators' Guide (curricula)

  • Curricula
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Coming of age, Companionship as salvation, Growing up - pain or pleasure, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice, Patriotism - positive side or complications
  • Widely available

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 .

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Manzanar Rites (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction, History
  • Coming of age, Evils of racism, Rights - individual or societal, Vulnerability of the strong
  • Limited availability

Coming of age novel by William Hohri about two teenage boys from West Los Angeles who end up at Manzanar with their families.

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Sleeping on Potatoes: A Lumpy Adventure from Manzanar to the Corporate Tower (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Desire to escape, Displacement, Facing reality, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice, Social mobility
  • Limited availability

Memoir of a Nisei, from his early childhood as the son of a violent father and a loving mother, his experience incarcerated at Manzanar , his career as a successful physicist at Honeywell, and his years after retiring.

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Manzanar and Beyond (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Importance of community, Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Available

Prominent Nisei attorney recounts his life, including his experiences as the administrator of the hospital at Manzanar concentration camp and his role in landmark legal battles advocating for redressing injustices experienced by Japanese Americans.

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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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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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Birth of an Activist: The Sox Kitashima Story (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Death - inevitable or tragedy, Empowerment, Importance of community
  • Available

A renowned redress activist shares her life story, including how the humiliating experience of wartime incarceration helped shape her later involvement in political activism.

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America's Betrayal (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8
  • Fiction, History
  • Coming of age, Companionship as salvation, Everlasting love, Evils of racism, Female roles, Losing hope, Will to survive
  • Limited availability

Young adult novel by Jodi Icenoggle written in the first person voice of Margaret Yamaguchi, a high school sophomore and aspiring writer in Valle Verde in coastal California. Her father runs a successful orchard and oversees a happy family that includes Margaret's mother, an older brother Robert, and younger brother Timmy. She has also started going steady with John Wilson, star athlete of Valle Verde High. But her happy life is slowly torn apart by the outbreak of war. As anti-Japanese sentiment rises after the attack on Pearl Harbor, so do tensions at the high school, particularly for an interracial couple like John and Margaret. Inevitably, the Yamaguchis get sent first to the Salinas Assembly Center , then to Poston , while John gets drafted. As family tragedies ensue, Margaret comes of age in the concentration camp, starting a camp newspaper and waiting for John to come back. But will …

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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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Color of the Sea (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Young Adult, Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

A coming-of-age novel by first time novelist John Hamamura centering on a Kibei raised in Japan, Hawai'i, and California and that climaxes with his wartime experiences that include arrest, the Military Intelligence Service , and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The book won an Alex Award from the Young Adult Library Services Association in 2007.

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Children of Detention Camps, 1942-1946 (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Coming of age, Growing up - pain or pleasure
  • No availability

Traveling exhibition produced by the National Japanese American Historical Society that debuted in February 1992 at San Francisco City Hall. The sixty-panel photo exhibition looked at the incarceration experience from the perspective of children, who made up a significant portion of affected Japanese Americans. In addition to Japanese American youth, the exhibition includes the experiences of Aleuts and Japanese Latin Americans in the U.S. detention camps. A follow up to the 1990 exhibition U.S. Detention Camps, 1942–1946 , Children of Detention Camps was displayed at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California and Children's Museum of Indianapolis among other venues.

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Gaijin: American Prisoner of War (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Graphic novels
  • Coming of age, Displacement, Isolation
  • Widely available

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner is the story of a hapa teenage boy's struggle living in post December 7 San Francisco, California. 13-year-old Koji Miyamoto discovers that life being biracial (his mother Adeline is white and his father Ichiro is Japanese) is just as difficult inside an incarceration camp as it was outside in the city after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Written for 5th through 8th grade readers, this graphic novel has a distinctive style of elongated caricatures colored with dark reds, yellows, blues, and browns.

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Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire (book)

  • Books
  • Adult
  • Fiction
  • Coming of age, Dangers of ignorance, Power of silence, Power of the past
  • Widely available

First novel by acclaimed poet and memoirist David Mura that explores the impact of wartime incarceration—and the silences about it—on a Japanese American family in Chicago after World War II.

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Eagle Against the Sun (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Loss of innocence, Coming of age, Evils of racism
  • Limited availability

A dramatic short film by John Akahoshi centering on a 17-year-old Japanese American high school girl and the impact the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor has on her life.

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Little Women (A Multicultural Transposition) (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Coming of age, Desire to escape, Family – blessing or curse, Female roles, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • No availability

Play by Velina Hasu Houston that reimagines Louis May Alcott's 19th century novel Little Women , setting it in early postwar Los Angeles with four Japanese American sisters at its center.

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The Kikuchi Diary: Chronicle from an American Concentration Camp (book)

  • Books
  • Historical Nonfiction
  • Coming of age, Displacement, Facing reality, Family - blessing or curse, Self-awareness
  • Available

The diary of Charles Kikuchi , a Nisei , and his observations about the chaos for Japanese Americans in the Bay Area after the bombing of Pearl Harbor as well as life in Tanforan Assembly Center .

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Take What You Can Carry (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Young Adult
  • Coming of age, Individual versus society, Vulnerability of the strong, Wisdom of experience
  • Widely available

The lives of two older teen boys, Kyle and Ken, alternate stories in the graphic novel Take What You Can Carry (2012) by Kevin C. Pyle. Although experienced a generation apart, the stories of these two teens merge into a complete story of healing and redemption.

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Caucasian Boy at a Japanese Camp (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Companionship as salvation, Displacement
  • Available

The son of the superintendent of schools at Tule Lake concentration camp recounts his experiences as a young boy there.

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