Stealing Home

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Modern Age

Stealing Home
Author: Torres, J
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Time Period: Modern Age
Time Frame: 1941-1945
Geographic Area: North America
Country: Canada
Topics: WWII
Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel
Reading Age: Middle Grade, Upper Middle Grade
Format: Graphic Novel
Published: 2021

American History > Modern Age > WWII

When a boy struggles after moving to a Japanese internment camp during WWII, baseball shows him another way to approach life.

Sandy Saito is a happy boy who reads comic books and is obsessed with baseball --- especially the Asahi team, the pride of his Japanese Canadian community. But when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, his life, like that of every other North American of Japanese descent, changes forever. His family is forced to move to a remote internment camp, and his father must spend months away from them. Sandy, his mother and his brother cope as best they can with the difficulties at the camp. Over time, Sandy comes to realize that life is a lot like baseball. It's about dealing with whatever is thrown at you, however you can. And it's about finding your way home.

In this emotionally gripping graphic novel, J. Torres has artfully woven a fictional story into a historically accurate, thoroughly researched account of the events surrounding the internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II. Using the approachable graphic novel format, the story of this grave chapter in North American history is gently told with sensitivity and insight, and the theme of baseball runs through the story as a message of hope and renewal. The time and place are evocatively rendered in David Namisato's detailed sepia-toned art. Along with its links to social studies and history lessons, this book offers a perfect lead-in to discussions about differences, inclusion and empathy, and about why this history is relevant today. The book includes extended background information in an afterword by Susan Aihoshi and resources for learning more.

Emily's Review

I've read many books about Japanese Internment during World War II, but this might be the first I've read that focuses on the internment in Canada. I thought this was a fantastic read. I found myself riveted from the first page, which I found surprising because typically I don't enjoy stories that revolve around sports.

The story is told from the perspective of Sandy, just your average baseball-obsessed American boy in 1941. His father is always busy, but they both share a love of baseball that helps them to connect. When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, everything changed. Suddenly people who Sandy saw as friends threw rocks at him and called him a spy. The government-imposed curfews made it nearly impossible for his father to properly do his job. Then one day his father was sent away, and the rest of the family was given days to pack up their belongings and move to ghost towns further inland.

This book is a great introduction to Japanese Internment for elementary-aged children. I thought the character of Sandy was very relatable and I loved the way the author wove his love of baseball into the story. Stealing Home is well written and told in a simple and straightforward way, perfect for a child as young as 8 to follow.

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