Nakagawa (Camp Child, 2007) recounts the experiences of her family following the forced relocation of Japanese Americans by Executive Order 9066.
The prologue establishes her deliberate choice to avoid terms that might diminish the impact of injustices suffered: “When I was a child, I was incarcerated in American concentration camps….Words are important. Being honest about what happened has taken a long time.” Nakagawa recounts her father’s arrest and imprisonment by the FBI. Soon after, she, her mother, two older sisters, and infant baby sister were taken from their Seattle home to a temporary camp in Puyallup, Washington, then to Minidoka, before being sent to Crystal City, Texas. Each chapter details an aspect of the bleak living conditions in the camps, including personal testimonies from family and friends and reflections from Nakagawa as an adult. Her anecdotes describe interactions, both positive and negative, with white people and her developing understanding of race in America. In her afterword, Nakagawa draws explicit parallels between her family’s experiences and the recent mistreatment and stereotyping of Muslim, Arab, and Sikh Americans. The book is enhanced by family photographs and color illustrations by her brother-in-law, who was also incarcerated at Minidoka. The author captures many sweet and raw moments in this highly personal account as she unravels her feelings and reactions about what happened to her at such a young age.
A meaningful memoir bringing into focus the human cost of this blight on American history. (Memoir. 12-adult)