Here are some books for kids about Japanese Internment Camps that they can read. Those who want to teach their kids or learn about this very important and very painful part of North American history can use these very easy to read, touching, and historical books as tools. If you don’t know what happened in the past, you’re doomed to do the same thing again.
As a parent, I live on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Even though it’s a beautiful island with great schools, some parts of its history are shameful and terrible. Because we don’t want to repeat that, we teach our kids about it. In 1942, Bainbridge Island was the first place to send people to camps. 227 Japanese Americans were sent away from their homes, and it can’t happen again.
So Far From The Sea by Eve Bunting
It will make you cry, and it makes me cry just thinking about the story, as well. This is the place where their grandfather and father died when they were in the internment camp at Manzanar. As they visit the grave, the parents tell stories about the hardships, injustice, and life inside the fences of these “camps,” which are where their children were born and raised. If you know this author, you know that she has a beautiful way of getting to the heart of the matter and making her readers feel. This book isn’t any different. She gets to the very heart of how unfair this was, but she still manages to make the readers have some hope as well. Do not forget to read and talk about the historical notes at the end of the story, after you’ve had a chance to connect with the beautiful story.
A Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy Lee-Tai
It’s about a little girl who lives in an internment camp and can’t see any beauty in the world. If you want to learn about history, you might want to read more non-fiction books that show how people lived in the past. This book, on the other hand, focuses more on one person’s experience than the bigger picture. I like that the text is written in both English and Japanese, which makes it more interesting. A good choice for kids who are a little older in elementary school.
Her family is living in a camp in Topaz. She’s just started a new art class, but she’s having a hard time coming up with anything to make in her dark surroundings. But soon, Mari starts to notice small acts of kindness and beauty, and she starts to see how hope can show up even in the darkest places.
Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki
Children should read this book. People at Minidoka, an internment camp in Idaho, played baseball to keep kids and their families busy. This book talks about how this helped keep people busy. You might not know much about this part of American history. This book is a good place to start. From a child’s point of view, readers can see the injustice and grief that happen while and after being held. In this book, my son was able to get a personal look at Japanese internment during World War II. Baseball gave him a way to connect to the boys in the story.
This is a great book for young people who want to learn more about reading and baseball. This story is based on real events. It shows how Shorty and his family lived in an internment camp, and how they used baseball to stay hopeful and connected to their friends and family. People at camp are desperate for a reason to be excited about. They’re fighting the desert heat, the relentless dust, and the cold nights. They build a field and start a baseball league. Barbed wire and guard towers make it hard for the players to play, but they soon realize that they’re not just playing to pass the time, but also for a sense of pride.
The Bracelet by Yoshiko Uchida
is a great book because it shows kids that the Americans who were held and imprisoned in internment camps were not bad people. They were just like other Americans. Emi’s best friend gives her a bracelet to wear while she’s away. In time, Emi realizes that she doesn’t need a bracelet or anything else to remember a friend. As a person, I think the bracelet is what connects her to the free world. Even though she is an American, the government can’t see that, just like she can’t see the bracelet. If the bracelet were not there, her sense of self and connection to the outside world would still be there, no matter what. Another great book for young people! In this moving story, author Yoshiko Uchida talks about her own childhood in a Japanese internment camp during World War II.
In 1942, seven-year-old Emi and her family have to move to an internment camp because of the war. There is no way Emi can stay where she is now. Her mother says that because they are Japanese-American, there is no other choice. They arrive at camp and she finds that her beloved heart bracelet has been lost. She feels a sense of despair as she thinks about how to remember her best friend.
Fish For Jimmy by Katie Yamasaki
Is a story about love and grief. His father isn’t with him and his family as they are taken from their home and sent to an internment camp for Japanese Americans. Jimmy is sad about this. His older brother, Taro, was told by his father that he had to look after the family while he was away. That’s what he does. Brother: Taro risks his life to sneak out of the camp to get his brother fish. It is a story of courage and love in the face of a lot of hardship and injustice.
No, I don’t know of one. I’d like to keep this list going up. Check out the title and give it a short review if you do.