Yes, Manzanar, Heart Mountain, and the other ‘relocation camps’ where Japanese-Americans were sent – with only the suitcases they could carry – were concentration camps.
Trusting neighbors to safeguard their houses, selling cars and business equipment for pennies on the dollar, Japanese-Americans on the West Coast hoped to return home soon…
Parents and neighbors wouldn’t approve of their relationship, but after his family is sent to Manzanar, Taichi and Evalina write letter after letter, daring to plan a future together.
Happy book birthday on March 5th to Within These Lines!
Would you speak out against popular opinion in stressful times, as Evalina did?
Book info: Within These Lines / Stephanie Morrill. Blink YA Books, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: The budding romance between Evalina and Taichi becomes a long-distance correspondence when his family is ‘evacuated’ to Manzanar concentration camp in the California desert after Pearl Harbor.
Many disagree that Japanese-Americans are true citizens of this country during World War II, but Italian-American Evalina will keep writing persuasive letters to San Francisco newspapers and arguing with her political science professor.
With blankets for apartment walls and dust blowing like despair through any crevice at Manzanar, Taichi will stand against the pro-Japan Black Dragon gang to protect his family.
Even though mixed-race marriage is illegal in their home state, it’s worth dreaming of a future together…right?
Letter by letter, thought by thought, Evalina and Taichi are separated by many valleys and mountains, held together by hope.
“The musicians call us owls because we’re patriotic girls who stay up LATE after working all day, so we can DANCE with young sailors who are on their way to triumph or death on distant ocean waves,” says 16-year-old Marisela in one of the first poems of Jazz Owls (p. 6)
But everyone of every race dancing together enrages some in power and “nothing sells newspapers as quickly as fear” brags an LA reporter (p. 32).
The papers’ sensationalized speculation questioned the true patriotism of non-whites and encouraged violence by sailors itching to get to war, creating a battle zone in Mexican-American neighborhoods where police blamed residents instead of their attackers.
Equal sacrifice demanded, unequal treatment before the law – how far have we come since 1942? **kmm
Book info: Jazz Owls: a Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots / Margarita Engle; art by Rudy Gutierrez. Atheneum Books, 2018. [author site] [artist interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My Book Talk: During World War II, everyone works – from abuelas with their victory gardens to young women dancing with servicemen before their deployment – but all citizens are not equal, and many powerful people want to keep it that way.
‘English only’ at the cannery, or teen sisters Marisela and Lorena will lose their jobs, be trapped at home with Mama, not allowed to do their patriotic duty by dancing with sailors at the USO club.
Because Nico is serving overseas (somewhere), little brother Ray must accompany his ‘jazz owl’ sisters to and from the USO, pachuco strutting in his wide-shouldered zoot suit.
Afro-Cuban drummer Manolito brings hot Caribbean rhythms into jazz, dances with Marisela, only she keeps him from leaving this hate-filled place to the fake Cuban musicians.
Fame-hungry LA reporters twist facts, sensationalize truth, fan flames of suspicion that Mexican-Americans might be enemies instead of citizens, that jazz musicians are dangerous.
Told in poems by many voices over a year’s time, starting with the Sailor Riots against zoot suiters in 1942, Jazz Owls shows how the fear of Others splintered an American city which needed to stay united during wartime.
To find her long-lost sister, to find her place in a new family, to make things the way they used to be…
In 1967, World War II was just one generation ago, the Summer of Love calls for peace, and Bea’s grandmother knows that it’s time to meet up with her sister Amelia Earhart back in their favorite childhood place, no matter what!
If someone’s dream seems possible, but very unlikely, what will you do? **kmm
Book info: The Last Grand Adventure / Rebecca Behrens. Aladdin, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Her grandmother wants to reunite with her long-lost sister, and 12-year-old Bea wants to get away from her new stepfamily – a trip from California to Kansas sounds great! Never mind that only grandmother Pidge has heard from her sister Amelia since the famous aviator went missing or that Bea was only staying at Pidge’s new retirement village for a short visit…
With 30 years of Meelie’s letters in Pidge’s purse, the pair hops an eastbound train headed for Atchison (never mind about reservations for a sleeper), as Bea writes about their trip in her new adventure journal.
Her parents’ divorce made Bea so sad – why did Dad have to remarry?
Pidge keeps changing her mind about things – is she really in control of the situation?
Train, plane, automobile – will they get to Atchison in time to meet Meelie?
Family stories old, new, and being written form the heart of this road trip during the “summer of love” in 1967 as Pidge tries to reconnect with her beloved adventurous sister.
Book info: The Fold / An Na. Atheneum, 2008 hardcover, 2017 paperback. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: When her aunt offers to pay for plastic surgery, pain-averse Joyce must decide how far she’ll go to get her crush’s attention and win his heart.
Adding the eyelid “fold” is a routine procedure for Korean-American women, but everyone can see how Auntie Gomo is addicted to plastic surgery.
Not as smart or pretty as older sister Helen, not as funny as younger brother Andy, Joyce feels like a nobody as her junior year ends and adorable John Paul Kang signs her yearbook with the wrong name.
Work in their parents’ restaurant all summer while Helen does a prestigious internship at college? Not fair.
John Paul comes to the restaurant when her eyes are swollen from chili powder accident? Oh no!
Dr. Reiner says the eyelid surgery is her decision, but how can Joyce disappoint her aunt? Oh my…
Maybe it’ll all be worth it if John Paul notices her enough at church and school to remember her name. Her best friend Gina agrees, her new friend Sam isn’t so sure…
Unsolved deaths of teen girls!
BFF didn’t commit suicide, Mila knows…
Now, to find the right spell to bring her back…
But of course, things don’t go the way that the teen Wiccan planned, and soon there are three zombie-like girls in their small town (two of whom she and Riley really couldn’t stand when they were alive), trying to figure out who killed them before they die for good in a week!
And the undead girls – whether they like each other or not – must stay close to Mila or their bodies go back to eewww…
Any other not-quite-zombie books to recommend?
Book info: Undead Girl Gang / Lily Anderson. Razorbill, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Bringing back her best friend Riley from the dead was a little easier than Mila expected, but when her spell also calls back two classmates they can’t stand, the California teen finds herself with three undead teen girls who won’t stay out of sight during the seven days they have back on earth find out who killed them all.
What if their families see them?
What if they can’t solve the mystery?
What if Mila’s coven is right about this spell being wrong?
Dimple wants to win the app development contest, Mom wants to arrange the ideal Indian marriage, and Rishi wants Dimple to agree with their parents that he is the one for her! Was a summer after graduation ever so complicated? (I recommended this fun book last May at https://booksyalove.com/?p=8797)
Jazz reads her second autobiography recounting her teen years and the challenges and bullying she has faced as a prominent voice for transgender youth in the years following her family’s support as she transitioned as an elementary school child.
What other books about fitting in versus being your true self would you recommend?
Songs for freedom,
words as power –
freedom from Spain, from slavery?
Did you know about Chinese immigrants who fled to Cuba, escaping racist attacks in America? They struggled for freedom from unfair indenture alongside enslaved Africans during the days when Cuba sought its independence from Spain – so many stories forgotten, lost, found, retold.
Could you leave your homeland for safety, then leave again?
Book info: Lion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words / Margarita Engle. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: At the confluence of Cuban, Chinese, and African cultures, poetic voices of three young people tell the stories of arrival and broken promises, despair and hope, love and the future during their island home’s early years as a nation.
To learn the proper Spanish that his Chinese mother never knew, Antonio’s African father sends him to school in La Habana city.
As he runs errands within the Chinese community for wealthy men displaced from California by anti-Asian prejudice in the post-Gold Rush years, the 12 year old meets twin sister and brother Fan and Wing.
Antonio hears stories of unfairness and change, falls in love with words, wonders if they have true power.
Fan runs away from the sugarcane fields, from forced marriage – to sing and write songs and sing true.
Wing remembers being forced from their California home, wants to help the rebels in Cuba’s mountains.
Months roll into years as the three young people help hide escaped slaves, read letters of protest sent to China and Madrid, long for power over their own lives.
Lyrically, poetically, alternating voices relate the struggles of indentured Chinese workers and enslaved African people fighting for their freedom in the 1870s as Cuba strives for independence from Spain.
He dreams of NBA fame,
not math or astronomy,
but suddenly, he must use every skill…to stay alive!
When an explosion hits their neighborhood, young teens must get over old disagreements and pool their talents so they can escape the danger and find their parents, using a new computer game that calls into question everything they ‘know’ about their families and themselves.
Would you run for safety or stay to find your family?
Book info: The Lost Tribes (Lost Tribes, book 1) / C. Taylor-Butler; illustrated by Patrick Arrasmith. Move Books, 2015. [author site] [illustrator site] [publisher site] [book trailer] Review copy from author for MultiCultural Children’s Book Day 2018; cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Life on their boring California street explodes into adventure as Ben and his friends work together on an amazing quest computer game, just before all their parents go missing!
Ben and younger sister April seize Uncle Henry’s challenge to solve the game in one week, bringing in neighbors Carlos (great at programming, bad at basketball), Grace (best friend since kindergarten, even if she’s a girl), and Serise (codebreaker deluxe, super snob) as the 3D interactive missions invite them to “find 8 keys” all over the world.
The five encounter puzzles and codes and stinky bird poop (almost as bad as the goopy smoothies Mom makes Ben and April drink) in Egypt, Easter Island, China – it’s so real!
But their parents are acting weirder than usual, a huge satellite dish appears near Carlos’ house then vanishes, and a nighttime attack sends all the families fleeing, kids separated from the adults!
Can the game help the teens get to the “harbor of safety” in reality?
Who would target their easy-going scientist and doctor parents with bombs?
What did Uncle Henry mean about “introducing them to the family business”?
This first book in the Lost Tribes series takes readers on a wide-ranging adventure as the five youths of different cultural backgrounds must use their individual talents together to keep the universe in balance.
Multicultural Children’s Book Day (27 Jan 2018) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom.
Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.
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