This landmark historical account shines a light on a part of American history that must be remembered.

WHEN CAN WE GO BACK TO AMERICA?

VOICES OF JAPANESE AMERICAN INCARCERATION DURING WORLD WAR II

Kamei, a lawyer instrumental in achieving redress for those incarcerated following Executive Order 9066, seamlessly combines dozens of personal narratives with detailed historical research.

These stories, drawn mostly from works in the public domain, are presented in this volume that covers the bombing of Pearl Harbor through to the redress movement, the 1983 congressional commission findings, and former President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive orders restricting travel from many predominantly Muslim countries. The author provides a framework for understanding the lead-up to the decision to intern so-called enemy aliens, along with about 72,000 American citizens of Japanese descent. From there, she shares their harrowing journey to barren desert camps, the harsh realities of life behind barbed-wire fences, and their eventual release during a time when anti-Japanese sentiments still ran high. The use of direct quotes from internees—many of them children and young adults—adds remarkable emotional weight. Many lives were ruined as people’s dreams and life goals were crushed, and readers will viscerally connect with their endurance and marvel at how many still maintained faith in the democratic system. The message of awareness of this past injustice and its connection to standing in solidarity with others who face injustice is a compelling theme of this riveting and indispensable work.

This landmark historical account shines a light on a part of American history that must be remembered. (author's note, centers and camps, timeline, glossary, abbreviations, contributor notes, sources, excerpt permissions, resources, index) (Nonfiction. 13-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4814-0144-9

Page Count: 736

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Small but mighty necessary reading.

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today.

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THEY CALLED US ENEMY

A beautifully heart-wrenching graphic-novel adaptation of actor and activist Takei’s (Lions and Tigers and Bears, 2013, etc.) childhood experience of incarceration in a World War II camp for Japanese Americans.

Takei had not yet started school when he, his parents, and his younger siblings were forced to leave their home and report to the Santa Anita Racetrack for “processing and removal” due to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. The creators smoothly and cleverly embed the historical context within which Takei’s family’s story takes place, allowing readers to simultaneously experience the daily humiliations that they suffered in the camps while providing readers with a broader understanding of the federal legislation, lawsuits, and actions which led to and maintained this injustice. The heroes who fought against this and provided support to and within the Japanese American community, such as Fred Korematsu, the 442nd Regiment, Herbert Nicholson, and the ACLU’s Wayne Collins, are also highlighted, but the focus always remains on the many sacrifices that Takei’s parents made to ensure the safety and survival of their family while shielding their children from knowing the depths of the hatred they faced and danger they were in. The creators also highlight the dangerous parallels between the hate speech, stereotyping, and legislation used against Japanese Americans and the trajectory of current events. Delicate grayscale illustrations effectively convey the intense emotions and the stark living conditions.

A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today. (Graphic memoir. 14-adult)

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60309-450-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Top Shelf Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2019

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