It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and Sheila at BookJourney
I was lucky to discover two wonderful new additions to our local library’s children’s section today, both of which are now on my booklist order for next year:
Matt Faulkner’s Gaijin: American Prisoner of War
“With a white mother and a Japanese father, Koji Miyamoto quickly realizes that his home in San Francisco is no longer a welcoming one after Pearl Harbor is attacked. And once he’s sent to an internment camp, he learns that being half white at the camp is just as difficult as being half Japanese on the streets of an American city during WWII.
Koji’s story, based on true events, is brought to life by Matt Faulkner’s cinematic illustrations that reveal Koji struggling to find his place in a tumultuous world-one where he is a prisoner of war in his own country.”
Faulkner tells Koji’s story with brutal honesty. Racism and betrayal is rampant, as Koji’s once safe world becomes a bewildering maze he must navigate in order to survive. Even next door neighbors and beloved teachers fall prey to the prevailing suspicion that every citizen of Japanese ancestry is suspect and ought to be driven away. The term “Gaijin” is a pejorative reference to anyone of mixed Japanese heritage; since Koji’s mother not Japanese, he faces harsh treatment from the bullies at the internment camp, as well.
The illustrations are fabulous and vivid – they make Koji’s experiences so immediate and believable. And, there is just enough text to provide historical context for the ongoing events. This would be an excellent choice for a historical fiction genre study or book club. Here is a book trailer for Gaijin: American Prisoner of War at Matt Faulkner’s website: