Multicultural Books for Kids on Japanese American Internment
Journey Home by Yoshiko Uchida is an important Japanese American story about what happened after the Japanese Americans were released from internment camp. This is Yoshiko Uchida’s own family story. This is the sequel to Journey to Topaz, in which eleven-year-old Yuki and her family are forced to relocate to a dusty internment camp in a remote part of Utah. While there are many stories about the Japanese American internment experience, and I list more on Top 10: Japanese American Children’s Books, Journey Home is the only book I’ve come across that tells the next piece of the story.
Yuki is now twelve-years-old and the family returns to Berkeley, California after an early release from internment camp. With all their possessions gone, the family struggles to start anew in a climate of prejudice, fear, and distrust. There are friends and neighbors who help. Her brother returns, injured both in body and spirit, from the war. But Yuki’s family’s story can be seen as the universal story of all Japanese Americans that lived through this period. It is a story of overcoming barriers, perseverance, and, ultimately, of forgiveness. This is an important story so I hope that your child will get a chance to read it.
Here’s a brief history of Ken’s unit, the 442nd Infantry: The 442nd Infantry, formerly the 442nd Regimental Combat Team of the United States Army, was an Asian American unit composed of mostly Japanese Americans who fought in Europe during World War II. The families of many of its soldiers were subject to internment. The 442nd was a self-sufficient fighting force and fought with uncommon distinction in Italy, southern France, and Germany. The unit became the most highly decorated regiment in the history of the United States Armed Forces, including 21 Medal of Honor recipients.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.