Thin Wood Walls
by David Patneaude
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8–The bombing of Pearl Harbor puts an end to 11-year-old Joe Hanada's happy-go-lucky life in the White River Valley near Seattle. Basketball, marbles, and Christmas plans are suddenly overshadowed by fears about the war. When longtime acquaintances begin to suspect Japanese-Americans of being spies, even the loyalty of Joe's Caucasian best friend can't soften the hurt of being called names or of having his father, a leader in the Issei community, taken away by the FBI. Joe finds comfort in his journal, where he records his impressions in both prose and haiku. After he is sent to the Tule Lake Relocation Camp in California with his older brother Mike and their mother and grandmother, Joe finds relief from the tedium of confinement in his writing. When Mike turns 18, he volunteers for the Army, eager to prove his loyalty. Not all of the detainees share his desire to fight for the U.S. Some request repatriation to Japan, while others forbid their children to speak English. The inclusion of many differing viewpoints within the Japanese-American community makes this book unique. Featuring a main character who grows and develops as historical events unfold, this well-written novel is a worthy companion to Ken Mochizuki's Baseball Saved Us (Lee & Low, 1993) and Yoshiko Uchida's Journey to Topaz (Turtleback, 1985) and Journey Home (McElderry, 1978).–Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA
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