The author asks a chilling question: can another uprooting happen? The short answer: yes.

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UPROOTED

THE JAPANESE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE DURING WORLD WAR II

“On a deeper level, the Second World War was about racism.”

Historian Marrin (FDR and the American Crisis, 2015, etc.) writes with brutal honesty and conviction about a shameful period in American history. He constructs a detailed, well-researched narrative of horrific worldwide events leading up to the “day of infamy.” After Pearl Harbor is attacked, and wartime hysteria and fear spread, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares war on Japan and signs into law Executive Order 9066. The order set into motion the “uprooting,” or forced removal, of West Coast–based Nisei (second-generation Japanese-American citizens) and Issei (first-generation Japanese immigrants) from their homes to so-called relocation centers throughout the U.S. Woven into the narrative, personal stories and poems from the uprooted shine a sobering light on their unbearable conditions, despair, and shame. It’s refreshing to see how the author calls out the War Relocation Authority’s euphemisms, such as “assembly center” or “evacuation,” instead telling it like it is: concentration camp and eviction. Chapters about the heroic military contributions of Nisei (while their families stayed imprisoned in camps) illustrate what it means to serve and take the high road under extremely unjust circumstances. Historical photos throughout are valuable resources that show wartime atrocities and government-censored depictions of camp life and that honor Japanese-American heroes.

The author asks a chilling question: can another uprooting happen? The short answer: yes. (source notes, suggested resources) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-50936-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today.

THEY CALLED US ENEMY

A beautifully heart-wrenching graphic-novel adaptation of actor and activist Takei’s (Lions and Tigers and Bears, 2013, etc.) childhood experience of incarceration in a World War II camp for Japanese Americans.

Takei had not yet started school when he, his parents, and his younger siblings were forced to leave their home and report to the Santa Anita Racetrack for “processing and removal” due to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. The creators smoothly and cleverly embed the historical context within which Takei’s family’s story takes place, allowing readers to simultaneously experience the daily humiliations that they suffered in the camps while providing readers with a broader understanding of the federal legislation, lawsuits, and actions which led to and maintained this injustice. The heroes who fought against this and provided support to and within the Japanese American community, such as Fred Korematsu, the 442nd Regiment, Herbert Nicholson, and the ACLU’s Wayne Collins, are also highlighted, but the focus always remains on the many sacrifices that Takei’s parents made to ensure the safety and survival of their family while shielding their children from knowing the depths of the hatred they faced and danger they were in. The creators also highlight the dangerous parallels between the hate speech, stereotyping, and legislation used against Japanese Americans and the trajectory of current events. Delicate grayscale illustrations effectively convey the intense emotions and the stark living conditions.

A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today. (Graphic memoir. 14-adult)

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60309-450-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Top Shelf Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2019

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This deeply personal and boldly political offering inspires and ignites.

THIS IS WHAT I KNOW ABOUT ART

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Curator, author, and activist Drew shares her journey as an artist and the lessons she has learned along the way.

Drew uses her own story to show how deeply intertwined activism and the arts can be. Her choices in college were largely overshadowed by financial need, but a paid summer internship at the Studio Museum in Harlem became a formative experience that led her to major in art history. The black artists who got her interested in the field were conspicuously absent in the college curriculum, however, as was faculty support, so she turned her frustration into action by starting her own blog to boost the work of black artists. After college, Drew’s work in several arts organizations, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, only deepened her commitment to making the art world more accessible to people of color and other marginalized groups, such as people with disabilities, and widening the scope of who is welcomed there. Drew narrates deeply personal experiences of frustration, triumph, progress, learning, and sometimes-uncomfortable growth in a conversational tone that draws readers in, showing how her specific lens enabled her to accomplish the work she has done but ultimately inviting readers to add their own contributions, however small, to both art and protest.

This deeply personal and boldly political offering inspires and ignites. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09518-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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