When I was in high school I was a huge Star Trek fan. That love has slightly abated, I don’t read all Star Trek books obsessively, but I still love Star Trek. In high school I read George Takei’s autobiography, To The Stars*. It was the first time I ever heard of the internment of Japanese during World War 2, that had never been taught in my history lessons in school, and I was taking advanced history classes. I was shocked to read of it, and was fascinated to read of his work to get the Japanese Americans reimbursed for their time, work, and property lost during the Japanese interment of World War 2.
This Sunday, February 19, 2017 marks the 75 anniversary of their internment. Since my kids are just now covering World War 2 in our history lessons (check out our Facebook live video of the start of World War 2), when I went to the library this past week I picked up a few books on this topic.
(Links marked with an * are affiliate links, and because I’ve got 2 million Amazon links this time and I’ll probably forget to mark one, assume it’s affiliate linked, see my Disclosure page for more information)
Picture Books on the Japanese Internment Camps of World War 2
Fish for Jimmy*- We read this book first when we were studying California for our geography lessons. It’s inspired by a family’s true story, and can be read with children of all ages.
Baseball Saved Us*- This was checked out of my library, so I haven’t read it yet, but I do remember George Takei referring to baseball in his book.
The Bracelet*- A young girl loses the bracelet her best friend gave her before she left to go to the internment camp.
Junior Fiction Books on the Japanese Internment Camps of World War 2
Since I was not looking for full length novels on this topic, I have not read any of these books, I’ll just give you a short synopsis.
A Boy No More– This one looks to be very melodramatic, so I’m not sure I’d recommend it. Adam (whose cover picture looks generic teen hero) witnesses the sinking of the Arizona with his Dad on board, and then he moves to California with his Mom, only to be put in an internment camp. It looks to be very Gary Stu.
Weedflower– Sumiko helps at her family’s flower shop. She loves it, and is devestated when she must move to Arizona, a land with no flowers. Will she find friends in this new and strange place?
Sylvia and Aki– This book intrigues me, it follows the story of Sylvia, a hispanic girl in California fighting for a better education (based off a real court case that was a pre-cursor to Brown v. the Board of Education), and Aki a Japanese American girl put in an internment camp.
Paper Wishes– Manami is devestated when her family must move to an internment camp, and tries to sneak her beloved dog in with her, but is caught halfway there. She and her grandfather desperately hope her dog will find his way to their camp.
Nonfiction Books on the Japanese Internment Camps of World War 2
Japanese-American Internment, an interactive history adventure*- This is in the vein of Choose Your Own Adventure, so if you’re a fan of that style this will be a hit
Children of Topaz*- This book includes actual diary entries from kids in the internment camps. When I was looking at books in the library I was trying very hard not to cry during it all.
Fighting for Honor*- I have not read this book, but glanced through it, and it covers the many Japanese American soldiers who volunteered to fight during World War 2.
Barbed Wire Baseball*- Follows Kenichi Zenimura as he uses baseball to cope with his internment, this is a younger nonfiction book so could be great to share with younger kids
Learn More about World War 2
World War 2 movies– movies you can watch with your kids from preschool to high school
How did World War 2 start?– the post inspiring the video I linked to up above
How did the United States end up in World War 2?– it’s a bit more complicated than Pearl Harbor
How did World War 2 end?– a step by step map lesson on the United States end of war campaign (we were studying US history)