Center for Children's Literature Blog

Children’s Book Committee – November 2020 Pick

Author: Kiku Hughes

Teen Kiku travels back in time to experience the traumatic incarceration of Japanese Americans, including the grandmother she never knew, during WWII. Minimally colored nuanced panels. Back matter.

Our Young Reviewer Says:

This book provides an invaluable perspective for younger generations on how the injustices faced decades ago are still applicable to today’s world. As a descendant of Japanese Americans who were forced into these internment camps, I had heard stories and seen pictures of what life was like there. However, I didn’t fully grasp the extent of the prejudices and trials that were daily faced and relate very much to Kiku in that aspect of how little she really knew about the camps. This book inspired me to not only further explore my family’s history, but to also fight against the injustices of today’s world, so that others don’t have to suffer like my family had to. The fact that this story takes place in present day and highlights issues that are being faced today, makes this story even more relevant and necessary for everyone to read.

The integration of Japanese terms provides an easy way for readers to educate themselves on aspects of Japanese culture that they would otherwise never be taught. The Japanese American internment camps are glossed over so much in history and what I learned in school, so this book provided a simplistic, yet thought provoking way to educate me and other readers on this important period in history.

I think the illustrations made the story and went hand in hand with the plot. I found them extremely useful because they provided images that I could connect the words to. Whenever I read, I always try to put myself into the main character’s shoes, but Kiku’s illustrations already did that for me- so I was able to focus on the plot and reflect more on the insights presented within the story.

–Nikki,16, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.

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