Hunt for the Bamboo Rat

Zenji Watanabe, seventeen, is sent from Hawaii to the Philippines to spy on the Japanese during World War II and, after he is captured and tortured, must find a way to survive months of being lost in the jungle behind enemy lines.

The Four Immigrants Manga : A Japanese Experience In San Francisco, 1904-1924

A “documentary comic book” from 1931, depicting the true adventures of four young Japanese men in America.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume VI, Issue 4

The Favorite Daughter

A father helps his daughter find pride and inspiration in this masterful picture book.Yuriko hates her name when the children make fun of it and call her “Eureka!” Though she is half Japanese, the teasing makes her want to hide, to retreat even from the art projects she used to love. Fortunately she has a patient, kind father who finds gentle ways of drawing her out and reminding Yuriko of the traditions they share that have always brought her joy: walks in lovely Golden Gate Park, lunch at their favorite sushi restaurant, watching the fog blow in off the bay. It’s enough… it’s more than enough to face down her challenges with confidence.From the incomparable Allen Say comes another moving story taken from his personal experience and translated to the universal. This tale, dedicated with love to Say’s daughter, is one for all parents who want their children to feel pride in their heritage, and to know their own greatest sources of strength and inspiration.THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER will be a favorite for years to come.

Kira-Kira (Newbery Medal Book)

kira-kira (kee’ ra kee’ ra): glittering; shining

Glittering. That’s how Katie Takeshima’s sister, Lynn, makes everything seem. The sky is kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the same reason. And so are people’s eyes. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, it’s Lynn who explains to her why people stop them on the street to stare. And it’s Lynn who, with her special way of viewing the world, teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill, and the whole family begins to fall apart, it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering — kira-kira — in the future.

Luminous in its persistence of love and hope, Kira-Kira is Cynthia Kadohata’s stunning debut in middle-grade fiction.

Name Me Nobody

Fourteen-year-old Emi-Lou Kaya feels like a nobody in her Hawaiian town. Abandoned by her mother at age three, Emi-Lou hasn’t a clue as to who her father might be, and on top of all this, she is overweight. Her only salvation is the strength of the hard-as-nails but loving grandmother who raised her, and the feisty spirit of her best friend Yvonne. It is Yvonne who renames the dynamic duo Von and Louie, and who puts Emi-Lou on a strict weight-loss regimen. But Emi-Lou starts to worry about losing her touchstone when Von begins spending a little too much time with Babes, an older girl from the softball team. Rumors abound that her soul sister is a “butchie,” and when Emi-Lou suspects it’s true, she becomes desperate to get Von back to “normal” and back to her role as best friend.

Weedflower

Twelve-year-old Sumiko feels her life has been made up of two parts: before Pearl Harbor and after it. The good part and the bad part. Raised on a flower farm in California, Sumiko is used to being the only Japanese girl in her class. Even when the other kids tease her, she always has had her flowers and family to go home to.

That all changes after the horrific events of Pearl Harbor. Other Americans start to suspect that all Japanese people are spies for the emperor, even if, like Sumiko, they were born in the United States! As suspicions grow, Sumiko and her family find themselves being shipped to an internment camp in one of the hottest deserts in the United States. The vivid color of her previous life is gone forever, and now dust storms regularly choke the sky and seep into every crack of the military barrack that is her new “home.”

Sumiko soon discovers that the camp is on an Indian reservation and that the Japanese are as unwanted there as they’d been at home. But then she meets a young Mohave boy who might just become her first real friend…if he can ever stop being angry about the fact that the internment camp is on his tribe’s land.

Weedflower is reviewed in WOW Review: Reading Across Cultures, Volume I, Issue 2.

Hiromi’s Hands

Growing up in New York City, Hiromi Suzuki misses spending time with her father, a sushi chef who works long hours in the family’s Japanese restaurant. So one day when she is eight years old, Hiromi begs her father to take her to the Fulton Fish Market, where he buys fresh fish. Hiromi is fascinated by what she sees and learns; by the time she is thirteen, she is ready to take the next step. She asks her father to teach her to make sushi. Little does Hiromi realize that her request would lead her to the forefront of a minor culinary revolution, as women claimed their place in the once all-male world of sushi chefs. Hiromi’s Hands is the true story of a young girl’s determination to follow her dream, and a tribute to the loving family who supported her.

Grandfather’s Journey

A Japanese American man recounts his grandfather’s journey to America which he later also undertakes, and the feelings of being torn by a love for two different countries.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume VII, Issue 4

Hiroshima Dreams

Lin can’t explain the knowledge she has of the future, of what people will say or what will happen. It’s a gift she shares with Obaasan, her grandmother, who has recently come from Japan to live with Lin’s family. But seeing the future is more than knowing whether or not a boy will call. What is Lin to make of the visions she has of a day long ago, when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima? Acclaimed author Kelly Easton’s poignant coming-of-age novel about a girl with psychic abilities is rich in imagery and memorable characters.