The book shares the story of Fred Korematsu, a second-generation Japanese American living on the West Coast during World War II, when the United States forced immigrants and citizens alike into internment camps. Fred resisted the order, and was jailed. The ACLU took up his case, which he eventually lost. He lost more than just the case. Many Japanese Americans turned on him, and he was officially considered a convicted felon. More than 40 years later, the ACLU decided to try his case again after finding new documents showing that the government had lied in his original case… and this time they won, setting an important precedent going forward. Fred knew what was happening was wrong and stood up against it. He was a changemaker.
Here’s an excerpt from the main text:
"Fred challenged something
he thought was unfair.
He spoke up–
and for all Japanese Americans,
even when no one stood with him.
It was not easy.
But Fred fought
to make the United States–
a fairer place.
And he won.
We all won."
I love the lyrical, spare text of the book. I love the engaging layout and design featuring illustrations, full-color photos, definitions of terms, and historical timelines. There are also sidebars and pullout boxes that explain concepts in greater detail and add context. In addition to nonfiction text features such source notes, bibliography, photo and text credits, and an index, the book also includes a fantastic section about how readers can stand up for social justice themselves.
I urge you to check this one out for the children in your life, for yourself, for our country, and for ALL of its citizens.
(Review by L. Thompson)
3rd through 8th grade, History, People of Color, Social Justice.