Friday, February 24, 2006

Japanese Americans in WWII

This is about a book I'm not going to buy. My Friend The Enemy (2005) by J.B. Cheaney was good, and I enjoyed it, but it's been done, and there was nothing about this book that made it any better than the others. The treatment of Japanese Americans during WWII is a fascinating subject, and I love introducing the students to it, but I would rather use other books. Barry Deneberg's The Journal of Ben Uchida is one of the few Scholastic diary books that I've enjoyed. In this case, the pictures at the back are very informative. Julie Otsuka's When the Emperor Was Divine (2002) is a harder sell, but an absoultely heartbreaking account of one family's experience from the point of view of different family members. Very moving. A more prosaic treatment is Sheila Garrigue's The Eternal Spring of Mr. Ito (1985).

Boys like the Deneberg, as well as the two excellent Graham Salisbury books-- Under the Blood-Red Sun(2001) and Eyes of the Emperor(2005). The last is especially good-- tells the story of Japanese Americans who were in a special unit in the army. There job was to train dogs to attack people who were Japanese! There are certainly other books on this topic, but those were my favorites.

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