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Suggested Reading

GRADES K-3

The Bracelet by Yoshiko Uchida

Emi is given a golden bracelet by a friend as she and her family are forced to leave their home. Emi loses the bracelet but learns that sometimes all you can carry are the memories in your heart.

Hello Maggie by Shigeru Yabu

In this delightful children’s story, Shigeru Yabu tells how, as a young boy living in the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, he befriended a magpie, named it Maggie and trained it to talk.

Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki

This is a story about how baseball pulled together a community while enduring the injustice of the Japanese American confinement of WWII.

So Far from the Sea by Eve Bunting

Laura Iwasaki is moving across the country. Before she goes, she and her family are visiting Laura’s grandfather’s grave at Manzanar for what will probably the last time. How will she say goodbye?


GRADES 3-5

Suggested reading for grades 3- 5 includes the above books. In addition, those listed below are also recommended:

A Boy of Heart Mountain by Barbara Bazaldua

At the onset of WWII, nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated in concentration camps. Inspired by Shigeru Yabu’s youthful camp experiences, A Boy of Heart Mountain is a poignant coming-of-age story and a celebration of the human spirit under duress.

Interactive History Adventure Books:

Everything in these books happened to real people. And YOU CHOOSE what side you’re on and what you do next. The choices you make could lead you to survival or to death. In the You Choose Books set, only YOU can CHOOSE which path you take through history. What will it be? Get ready for an adventure.


GRADES 6-9

Suggested reading for grades 6 – 9 includes A Boy of Heart Mountain and The Journal of Ben Uchida. In addition, those listed below are also recommended:

Stanley Hayami, Nisei Son: His Diary, Letters & Story from an American Concentration Camp to Battlefield, 1942 – 1945 annotated by Joanne Oppenheim

The “whole mess” as Stan put it, began on December 7, 1942, when Japan Attacked the United States Pacific Fleet in Hawaii. Stanley Hayami’s diary serves as witness to a dark time in our history and is told through the eyes of a teenager who will soon be expected to take up the responsibility of a man.


GRADES 9-12

Heart Mountain: Life in Wyoming’s Concentration Camp by Mike Mackey

A detailed account of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, the daily lives of those confined here, and the different factions from Heart Mountain involved with the draft issue.

Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, James D. Houston

The true story of one spirited Japanese American family’s attempt to survive the indignities of forced detention and of a native-born American child who discovered what it was like to grow up behind barbed wire in the United States.

On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

A story of a Chinese boy who grows into a man during WWII and how he tried to live by his beliefs after befriending a Japanese American girl. (Fiction)

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

In 1954 a fisherman is found drowned near San Piedro Island and a Japanese American named Kubuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder. (Fiction)

Free to Die For their Country by Eric Muller

In the spring of 1942, the federal government forced West Coast Japanese Americans into detainment camps on suspicion of disloyalty. Two years later, the government demanded even more, drafting them into the same military that had been guarding them as subversives. Most of these Americans complied, but Free to Die for Their Country is the first book to tell the powerful story of those who refused. Based on years of research and personal interviews, Eric L. Muller re-creates the emotions and events that followed the arrival of those draft notices, revealing a dark and complex chapter of America’s history.

Letters from the 442 by Minoru Masuda, Hana Masuda and Dianne Bridgman

This is the first collection of letters by a member of the legendary 442nd Combat Team, which served in Italy and France during World War II. Written to his wife by a medic serving with the segregated Japanese American unit, the letters describe a soldier’s daily life.


OTHER GREAT BOOKS FOR ADULTS

Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II edited by Eric L. Muller with photographs by Bill Manbo

In 1942, Bill Manbo (1908 -1992) and his family were forced from their Hollywood home into the Japanese American internment camp at Heart Mountain in Wyoming. While there, Manbo documented both the bleakness and beauty of his surroundings, using Kodachrome film, a technology then just seven years old, to capture community celebrations and to record his family’s struggle to maintain a normal life under the harsh conditions of racial imprisonment. Colors of Confinement showcases sixty-five stunning images from this extremely rare collection of color photographs, presented along with three interpretive essays by leading scholars and a reflective, personal essay by a former Heart Mountain incarceree.