Reviewer Amy Lignor: Amy is the author of a historical fiction novel entitled The Heart of a Legend, and Mind Made, a work of science fiction. Presently, she is writing an adventure series set in the New York Public Library, as well as a teen fiction series, The Angel Chronicles. She is an avid traveler and has been fortunate to have journeyed across the USA, where she has met the most amazing people, who truly bring life and soul to her books. She lives in the Land of Enchantment (for now) with her gorgeous daughter, Shelby, her wonderful Mom, Mary, and the greatest friend and critic in the entire world - her dog, Reuben
Author: Suzanne Lieurance
This book is an absolute gem offered by Enslow Publishers, who provide K-12 school libraries with some of the best non-fiction books available. I want to begin with this statement because I am a firm believer that children should read. As a mom and a daughter of a librarian, it does my heart good when I see a child or young adult actually step away from their computers and pick up a good book. And this offering is just what the librarian ordered.
We begin our tale with the Yakamoto family who live in Seven Cedars, California. The young son is named Harry and he has had a mostly normal life: going to school, playing baseball with his friends; and, working hard in his family’s restaurant – which is the big “hit” of the whole town.
Now Harry is a Japanese American and the setting of this book is 1941. Therefore the reader is given a first-hand view at the discrimination that Harry and his family have had to face. Although no amount of discrimination had prepared them for that fateful day when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. In an instant, Harry’s life is turned upside down. Strangers march into his family’s restaurant and pull him away from everything he’s ever known – throwing Harry and his family into a relocation center. (This is a nice, fuzzy, and completely untrue name for an internment camp.)
I’ve read many powerful stories regarding this time period, but I have to say that this read really hit home. ‘Watching’ this whole horrible event play out through the eyes of a child gave me a whole new perspective on Pearl Harbor and the treatment of Japanese Americans by the United States. Harry was an innocent; he was not the enemy. A great deal of Japanese American citizens were most definitely not the enemy of America. In fact, they loved America just as much (or more) than some families who could trace their American lineage back to the first Thanksgiving Day dinner. The internment camps also are a clear reminder that the travesties perpetrated by the Nazi regime in their “relocation centers” were not all that far off from the way that young children like Harry were treated by us…the good guys.
At the back of the book there are also pictures and educational articles regarding Pearl Harbor that are extremely interesting and educational. This is a great book.