Cover image for Write to Me Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind.
Title:
Write to Me Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind.
ISBN:
9781580896887
Publication Information:
Charlesbridge Publishing 2018/01
General Note:
[Hardcover]
Abstract:
A touching story about Japanese American children who corresponded with their beloved librarian while they were imprisoned in World War II internment camps.

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Summary

Summary

A touching story about Japanese American children who corresponded with their beloved librarian while they were imprisoned in World War II internment camps.

When Executive Order 9066 is enacted after the attack at Pearl Harbor, children's librarian Clara Breed's young Japanese American patrons are to be sent to prison camp. Before they are moved, Breed asks the children to write her letters and gives them books to take with them. Through the three years of their internment, the children correspond with Miss Breed, sharing their stories, providing feedback on books, and creating a record of their experiences. Using excerpts from children's letters held at the Japanese American National Museum, author Cynthia Grady presents a difficult subject with honesty and hope.


Author Notes

Cynthia Grady is a former middle-school librarian and the author of Like a Bird- The Art of the American Slave Song (Millbrook) and I Lay My Stitches Down- Poems of American Slavery (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers). She holds master's degrees in children's literature, library studies, and classics/philosophy/liberal studies.

Amiko Hirao earned a degree in art history in her native Japan and later graduated from Rhode Island School of Design. She has illustrated Take Me Out to the Ball Game, Tulip at Bat (Hachette), and Just What Mama Needs (HMH).


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Grady (I Lay My Stitches Down: Poems of American Slavery) recounts, in partial epistolary format, the true story of San Diego children's librarian Clara Breed, who corresponded with her young Japanese-American patrons while they were interned during WWII. Excerpts from the children's letters appear as small signed postcards that overlay many of Hirao's muted colored-pencil illustrations. "Books make the day shorter and happier for us," one postcard declares; others offer upsetting glimpses into camp life ("We live in a horse stable"). Miss Breed also brought books and small gifts to the children at their Arizona internment camp and advocated in other ways ("She wrote magazine articles. She wrote letters asking for a library and school for the imprisoned children"). Endpapers featuring captioned b&w photographs from that era-one shows Japanese-American children awaiting deportation-cement the story's context for young readers. This affecting introduction to a distressing chapter in U.S. history and a brave librarian who inspired hope concludes with extensive back matter, including an author's note, a timeline of Breed's life, and a selected history of Japanese-Americans in the U.S. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

Librarian Clara Breed was a hero to the Japanese American children in San Diego who were banished to internment camps during WWII: she sent books, postcards, soap, and other supplies to cheer them up. Hirao's colored-pencil illustrations and archival black-and-white photographs on the endpapers help contextualize Grady's moving story, which includes excerpts from the children's actual letters. Reading list, timelines. Bib. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Katherine Tasaki returned a stack of books and turned in her library card. "We've got to move soon," she said. "All Japanese, you know."             Miss Breed did know. The US government thought Katherine and all people of Japanese heritage living on the West Coast could be dangerous. They looked like an enemy of the United States in a complicated war halfway around the world, so the government ordered that they be imprisoned.             Miss Breed gave Katherine a stamped, addressed penny postcard in exchange for her library card. "Write to us," Miss Breed said. "We'll want to know where you are." Excerpted from Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind by Cynthia Grady All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.