In a brief historical episode, two fifth-graders (one of them a Japanese-American) witness the bombing of Pearl Harbor and...

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PEARL HARBOR IS BURNING! A Story of World War II

In a brief historical episode, two fifth-graders (one of them a Japanese-American) witness the bombing of Pearl Harbor and its immediate aftermath. Though unhappy in his new Hawaiian home, Frank makes an instant friend in Kenji Imoto, the landlord's son; the two talk baseball, and, after watching the attack, Frank is invited to spend the night in the Imotos' traditional household. Plot and character take a backseat here to expressions of racial tension: Frank is hazed by schoolmates as a ""haoli"" (white); he encounters anti-Asian prejudice in his mother; he's disoriented by the Imotos' social customs and sees them arguing about whether to conceal their heritage. Frank also reflects very little on his experiences, with the spare narrative virtually free of background or analysis; the author does mention in an afterword that internment camps appeared on the mainland but not in Hawaii, where suspicion seldom reached as high a pitch. A good springboard for thought and discussion of perennial, increasingly visible issues. Himler provides several fun-page soft pencil drawings.

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 1991

ISBN: 0140345094

Page Count: 54

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1991