This Light Between Us-a novel of World War II

In 1935, ten-year-old Alex Maki of Bainbridge Island, Washington, is horrified to discover that his new pen pal, Charlie Levy of Paris, France, is a girl, but in spite of his initial reluctance, their letters continue over the years and they fight for their friendship even as Charlie endures the Nazi occupation and Alex leaves his family in an internment camp and joins the Army.

They Called Us Enemy

George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father’s — and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future. In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten “relocation centers,” hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard. They Called Us Enemy is Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother’s hard choices, his father’s faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future. What does it mean to be American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do? To answer these questions, George Takei joins co-writers Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker for the journey of a lifetime.

They Called Us Enemy has been discussed in My Take/Your Take for August 2020.

They Called Us Enemy has been featured as a WOW Recommends Book of the Month.

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.