by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Illustrated by Yas Imamura
Set in an incarceration camp where the United States cruelly detained Japanese Americans during WWII and based on true events, this moving love story finds hope in heartbreak.
To fall in love is already a gift. But to fall in love in a place like Minidoka, a place built to make people feel like they weren't human--that was miraculous.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Tama is sent to live in a War Relocation Center in the desert. All Japanese Americans from the West Coast--elderly people, children, babies--now live in prison camps like Minidoka. To be who she is has become a crime, it seems, and Tama doesn't know when or if she will ever leave. Trying not to think of the life she once had, she works in the camp's tiny library, taking solace in pages bursting with color and light, love and fairness. And she isn't the only one. George waits each morning by the door, his arms piled with books checked out the day before. As their friendship grows, Tama wonders: Can anyone possibly read so much? Is she the reason George comes to the library every day? Maggie Tokuda-Hall's beautifully illustrated, elegant love story features a photo of the real Tama and George--the author's grandparents--along with an afterword and other back matter for readers to learn more about a time in our history that continues to resonate.
Target age: 6 to 9
"The author's gentle text captures the resilience of human dignity and optimism even during times of immense challenge and adversity. Imamura's stunning gouache and watercolor illustrations convey both the setting and the emotions of the characters... Tokuda-Hall's author's note discussing her grandparents, Japanese internment camps, and the continuing impact of racism caps off this powerful must-read." -- Booklist, starred review
"Simple yet evocative... Fluid, dynamic gouache and watercolor illustrations by Imamura (Winged Wonders) spotlight the expressive internees' individualism amid a bleak landscape, immersing readers... Alongside a sensitive introduction to life in Japanese internment camps, this picture book transcends its central romance to encompass love for books, community, and being 'human.'" -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
About the Contributors:
Maggie Tokuda-Hall is the author of Also an Octopus, illustrated by Benji Davies, and the novel The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea. She lives in Oakland, California.
Yas Imamura is the illustrator of The Very Oldest Pear Tree by Nancy I. Sanders, Winged Wonders by Meeg Pincus, and other books for children. She lives in Portland, Oregon.