Illustrated by David Namisato
Sandy is a young Boy growing up in British Colombia who loves baseball. It’s one of the things he and his father enjoy together, that is when is father isn’t off providing medical treatments to folks. Sandy’s family and of Japanese decent, and they live in a thriving Japanese community in BC, who all root for the Asahi, the local baseball team who just lost the championship, but are hopeful to get it back next season. Then, the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, and things start getting more complicated for Sandy and his family. They have to give up some of their possessions “for safekeeping”, knowing full well they will be sold off; they have to be in their homes by sundown, which makes the father’s job much harder; and there are certain areas of port cities they are no longer allowed to live in. Soon enough, the families are transported to camps that have been set up at abandoned mining facilities.
As an American, I’ve read many books about what the American government did to Japanese Americans, but I haven’t seen a lot from a Canadian perspective. Many things are extremely similar about the way folks of Japanese descent were treated in the two different countries. One of the similarities is how much the Japanese communities in the US and Canada love baseball. In this story, baseball or playing catch is sometimes the only thing that keeps Sandy in decent spirits. I would have liked to see a little bit more from the ending. Throughout the story, there is conflict for Sandy's father with performing his duty as a doctor and being present as a father. The ending gives hope that Dad will be more present with his family, but it sort of ends at the climax with a big reveal without a lot of resolution.
Namisato's illustrations are soft and visually pleasing. There are a ton of details in characters or backgrounds, but it works for this story. The pages could have benefited from some coloring since the illustrations are a little simple.
Kids Can Press rates this for grades 4-7, which seems appropriate aside from the possible lack of knowledge on Japanese Internment Camps in the lower grades. Without the historical context, the hardships Sandy's family goes through might fall a little flat.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 5-8
This review was made possible with an advanced reader copy from the publisher through Net Galley.
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication Date: October 5, 2021
ISBN: 9781525303340 (Hardcover)
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: Elementary School, Suitability: Middle School, Graphic Nonfiction, History, War, Family
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