Kirkus Reviews QR Code


The Diary of Piper Davis, Seattle, Washington, 1941

From the Dear America series

by Kirby Larson

Age Range: 9 - 13

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-545-22418-5
Publisher: Scholastic

Piper Davis is 13 in the fall of 1941 when she begins her diary. Her older brother has just been stationed in Hawaii—far, his family thought, from the fighting in Europe. Piper’s community in Seattle is a seemingly tight-knit one, and her father is minister to the Japanese Baptist congregation. The quick escalation of events after Pearl Harbor, the worries about her brother, the incarceration and relocation of friends and neighbors—all are chronicled with care and detail. Piper’s voice is believably that of a young girl in the war years, and though the narrative is somewhat episodic, it has plenty of emotional resonance. The appalling removal of immigrant and American-born Japanese from their homes and the discomfort, sorrow, grit and struggle in Camp Minidoka in Idaho are detailed through Piper’s visits with her father, who is appointed to its church. An epilogue brings the story into the present for several of the characters. This auspicious relaunch of the Dear America series includes an historical note, archival images, web resources, a recipe, Roosevelt's "day that will live in infamy" speech—and the author's name on the cover. (Historical fiction. 9-13)