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Avatar for KaliO KaliO said:
After Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese in 1941, attitudes towards Japanese Americans turned very ugly indeed. In 1942, the U.S. government made the decision to round up all people of Japanese origin and descent on the west coast and place them in “relocation camps” for the duration of World War II. For three years thousands of people, many of them American citizens, were crowded together because of their race, even forced to cram their family members and all their possessions into horse stalls at converted racetracks. For all that, not a single Japanese American was ever found to be involved in any anti-American war effort. In San Diego, a public librarian named Clara Breed was devoted to her young patrons. When the orders came for Japanese American families to pack up and leave their homes, Miss Breed responded with characteristic generosity and support. Exchanging letters with “her children,” Miss Breed sent supplies, treats, and above all, books to the internment camps to keep up the spirits of the young people whose lives were indefinitely on hold. Author Joanne Oppenheim presents a book chock-full of research supported by the real letters and lives of Miss Breed and the youngsters who wrote to her. The life of forced deprivation and humiliation in the camps is highlighted, but it is the determined attempts of Miss Breed’s teenage friends to make the best of any situation that stands out as exemplary. The optimism of these young people contrasts dramatically with the shameful treatment they received, driving home the message that racism is never acceptable and giving voices back to victims. Dear Miss Breed is not only a unique resource about this period in American history, but it is an excellent read as well.
posted Dec 24, 2009 at 1:31PM
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