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Modern Age

Author: Hughes, Kiku
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Time Period: Modern Age
Time Frame: 1942-1945
Geographic Area: North America
Country: United States
Topics: WWII
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Reading Age: Young Adult, Adult
Format: Graphic Novel
Published: 2020

American History > Modern Age > WWII

A teenager is pulled back in time to witness her grandmother's experiences in World War II-era Japanese internment camps in Displacement, a historical graphic novel from Kiku Hughes.

Kiku is on vacation in San Francisco when suddenly she finds herself displaced to the 1940s Japanese-American internment camp that her late grandmother, Ernestina, was forcibly relocated to during World War II.

These displacements keep occurring until Kiku finds herself "stuck" back in time. Living alongside her young grandmother and other Japanese-American citizens in internment camps, Kiku gets the education she never received in history class. She witnesses the lives of Japanese-Americans who were denied their civil liberties and suffered greatly, but managed to cultivate community and commit acts of resistance in order to survive.

Kiku Hughes weaves a riveting, bittersweet tale that highlights the intergenerational impact and power of memory.

Emily's Review

This is such a powerful story about time travel and generational trauma and healing. Kiku gets pulled back in time to when her grandmother was imprisoned in Japanese internment camps in the 1940s. She'd only heard a few stories of that time and feels disconnected from her Japanese heritage. Over the course of the story, she learns why her mother never learned to speak Japanese and why she was raised without that connection to her family's culture.

There are so many great themes in this novel, from the importance of learning your family history and the effects of generational trauma, resistance, and how we can stand up for what is right even when it seems small in the face of great adversity.

I love the way the author wove current events into the story, showing how history repeats itself. The theme of resistance is such an important one. We need to know that the Japanese Americans that were wrongfully imprisoned didn't just go like sheep. They did what they could to resist in both small and large ways.

The relationships Kiku forms in the camps and the way she and her mother bond over their shared memories were beautifully written. "Memories are powerful things." We need to know our past so we can make a better future.

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