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by J.C. Kato & J.C.2 ; illustrated by Estelle Ishigo

Pub Date: July 1st, 2022
ISBN: 979-8-98523-743-6
Publisher: CHB Books

A young Japanese American girl from California faces the hardships of incarceration.

It’s 1942, and Kokoro Marie Hayashi has been on a train for four days with her mom and older sister, Shirley. They’ve already been through a lot—spending three months in a horse stall at an assembly center in Pomona—and now she hopes they will finally get to live in a real house. However, Koko’s dreams are squashed when the train stops in windy Heart Mountain, Wyoming. The unknown future weighs on her as well as the sadness of not truly knowing where her father is: While her mother says he’s on a photography assignment for the government in Santa Fe, clues that hint otherwise cause her to believe something more serious has happened to him. From entering sixth grade in a new school without her White best friend to finally getting to join the Girl Scouts (something she couldn’t do before because the Scout leader’s racism soured her mother on the organization), Koko must learn to survive. Readers will see strength in her acts of bravery, and her letters to her father authentically convey her emotions. Artwork by Ishigo, a White woman who entered Heart Mountain with her Japanese American husband, enhances the text; the Ishigos appear as characters in the story as well.

A sincere novel providing insight into the lives of Japanese Americans during World War II.

(authors’ notes, timeline, further reading, image credits) (Historical fiction. 10-14)