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Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference Hardcover – February 1, 2006
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up–Through letters and recollections, Oppenheim relates the story of a group of young people who were interned during World War II. Breed had come to know many Japanese Americans through her work as the childrens librarian at the San Diego Public Library. When the young people were sent to camps in 1942, she began sending letters and care packages of books, candy, and other treats to her children. She also wrote articles for Library Journal and The Horn Book that articulated their plight. In return, the recipients expressed their gratitude in letters. While their lives were marked by deprivation and uncertainty, their letters reveal an unquenchable optimism. Their story, along with that of Miss Breed, is both remarkable and inspiring, and Oppenheim has done a fine job of assembling these poignant eyewitness accounts. Unfortunately, she muddles her assessment, ladling on a variety of unnecessary details and her own anecdotal experiences. Theres a lack of clarity and focus, and though this is a welcome addition to this topic, its appeal will be limited to those familiar with it. Readers seeking a concise, overall perspective would fare better with Michael L. Coopers Fighting for Honor: Japanese Americans and World War II (2000) and Remembering Manzanar: Life In a Japanese Relocation Camp (2002, both Clarion).–Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Gr. 7-10. Like Michael O. Tunnell's The Children of Topaz (1996), this passionately written history bears witness to the World War II injustices endured by Japanese Americans, from a vantage point of particular relevance to young people. In a poignant introduction, seasoned children's writer Oppenheim explains how her hunt for a former classmate, a Japanese American, serendipitously led her to an Internet profile of San Diego children's librarian Clara Breed, and to a collection of letters written to Breed by her incarcerated Japanese patrons--grateful, illuminating responses to Breed's faithful missives and care packages containing books and other gifts. Although the letters (and interviews with their grown-up authors) form the narrative's bedrock, Oppenheim weaves them into a broader account, amplified by photos, archival materials (including a startlingly racist cartoon by Dr. Seuss), and moving quotations from the later reparation hearings: "I was just 10 years old when I became a 'squint-eyed yellow-bellied Jap.'" Along with the basic facts, Oppenheim urges readers to critically interpret primary sources and identify "governmental doublespeak"; the words "incarceration" or "concentration" are consciously employed here as correctives for softpedaling terminology like "internment" and "relocation." Unclear references in the children's letters are not always annotated, and the recurring discussion of professional concerns facing Breed (whose own letters to the camps have been lost) often seems to cater too obviously to Oppenheim's adult readers. But the aggregate deserves commendation for its sheer quantity of accessible, exhaustively researched information about a troubling period, more resonant now than ever, when American ideals were compromised by fear and unfortunate racial assumptions. Eight pages of unusually readable, wide-ranging endnotes and an exhaustive bibliography conclude, evidence of Oppenheim's all-consuming research process. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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The book should be ready by every adult in this country - especially the people that run this country. There are so many times that we have fallen far from the principles upon which this country was established. The book describes our treatment of the Japanese Americans during the second World War. There are many other similar examples: the practice of slavery, the way we destroyed the indigenous people that were here first, the prejudice against Jews and Blacks...the examples go on and on...