Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 13 to 18
- Grade: 8 to 12
- Reading age: 13 to 18
This book is an illustrated history of the wartime internment of Japanese Canadian residents of British Columbia. At the time when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Japanese Canadians numbered well over 20,000. From the first arrivals in the late nineteenth century, they had taken up work in many parts of BC, established communities, and become part of the Canadian society even though theyfaced racism and prejudice in many forms.
With war came wartime hysteria. Japanese Canadian residents of BC were rounded up, their homes and property seized, and forced to move to internment camps with inadequate housing, water, and food. Men and older boys went to road camps while some families ended up on farms where they were essentially slave labour. Eventually, after years of pressure, the Canadian government admitted that the internment was wrong and apologized for it.
This book uses a wide range of historical photographs, documents, and images of museum artefacts to tell the story of the internment. The impact of these events is underscored by first-person narrative from five Japanese Canadians who were themselves youths at the time their families were forced to move to the camps.
About the authors
PAMELA HICKMAN is the author of over forty non-fiction books for children, including winners of the Green Prize for Sustainable Literature, the Best Book Award from the Society of School Librarians International and the Canadian Authors Association Lilla Sterling Memorial Award. She co-authored the first book in this series, Righting Canada's Wrongs: Japanese Canadian Internment in the Second World War. She lives in Canning, Nova Scotia.
MASAKO FUKAWA lived in Steveston, BC until the forced evacuation in 1942. Masako has worked as a teacher and principal. Her recent book, Spirit of the Nikkei Fleet, won the 2010 Canada-Japan Literary Award and was runner up for the 2010 Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award and the BC Historical Federation's 2009 Historical Writing Competition. She lives in Burnaby, BC.
- Commended, Best Books for Kids & Teens -- Canadian Children's Book Centre
- Commended, One of the Year's Best for 2012 -- Resource Links
"A wonderful series [Righting Canada's Wrongs] of beautiful books."
"For high school instructors--especially those seeking primary soruce documetns to have students analyze--this is a treasure-trove."
Authors Pamela Hickman and Masako Fukawa skilfully follow the story of the Japanese in Canada, from the first wave of immigrants in 1877 through the internment years and the fight for redress. Arresting images dominate the pages, mixing family photographs, posters, museum artifacts, and news archives to create a vivid scrapbook, which also contains the recollections of five internment survivors. Their accounts, peppered generously throughout the book, bring to life the imagery and facts that might otherwise seem impersonal....The book proves an essential history lesson for a generation that may be unaware of this deplorable part of our nation's past.
Quill & Quire
"...inviting like a yearbook or a highly polished scrapbook, bursting with photos as well as historic political cartoons and posters...The inclusion of simple maps, a detailed timeline and a glossary also contribute to the readability of this large-format volume...This book holds appeal for any young adult with an interest in the history of Canada."
"an effective educational volume"
"This is an impressive book filled with heart-wrenching stories of Japanese Canadians who endured this difficult period in their lives. It is a must have for all history teachers as it recognizes an event in Canadian history that should never be repeated."
Canadian Children's Book News
"This book is very well-done... The visuals are spectacular and will surely be a drawing card for students... These are topics our students need to be informed about in order to understand and appreciate our history." Rated E - Excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!
"Terrific and highly readable."
Japanese Canadian Internment in the Second World War is a phenomenal achievement. More than 300 full-colour and black and white visuals (maps, photos, document facsimiles) powerfully evoke the times they represent, the personal stories give a strong and poignant voice to those who lived the experience, and the combination of historical content and first-person accounts make this a hugely accessible work for high school students in Canadian history and human rights courses. This book has a place, both in high school libraries and as a supplementary text for social studies classrooms.Highly Recommended
CM: Canadian Review of Materials
About the Righting Canada's Wrongs series:
"As indicated by its name, this series is hopeful. It is not about opening old wounds; it's about remembering the past, understanding it and moving forward."
Japanese Canadian Internment in the Second World War (Righting Canada’s Wrongs)Filled with historical photographs, documents and first-person narratives, this intriguing book about the Japanese Canadians who were interned during World War II provides a full account of this important, yet disturbing, event in Canada’s history. Initially, we are introduced to five Japanese Canadians who lived through the internment as young people, with their personal accounts of the events appearing throughout the book. The authors then take us back to the early 1900s and explain why the Japanese emigrated to Canada and how, even as they faced many hardships, they built successful lives for themselves. When Canada joined the war effort in 1939, Japanese Canadians did their part to help out, but when Japan attacked Pearl Harbour in 1941, things began to change drastically for Japanese Canadians, especially those living in British Columbia. As conditions turned from bad to worse they gradually lost their rights as Canadian citizens as well as their property, and were eventually interned. When the war ended, Japanese Canadians faced voluntary deportation or relocation. It was not until the War Measures Act was lifted that they were allowed to return to the west coast. The final chapter of the book discusses the apology and redress that was finally achieved in 1988, and shows sites of acknowledgement made to the Japanese people.
This is an impressive book filled with heart-wrenching stories of Japanese Canadians who endured this difficult period in their lives. It is a must have for all history teachers as it recognizes an event in Canadian history that should never be repeated. The personal anecdotes from the five Japanese Canadians interviewed for the book help us to understand in a very powerful way the hardships that were faced. Reading their stories makes us realize what resilient people they were and how fortunate we are today to live in such a multicultural country.
Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2012. Volume 35 No. 3.
Japanese Canadian Internment in the Second World War (Righting Canada’s Wrongs)Filled with historical photographs, documents and first-person narratives, this intriguing book about the Japanese Canadians who were interned during World War II provides a full account of this important yet disturbing time in Canada’s history. The authors take us from the early 1900s, explaining why the Japanese immigrated to Canada, to the lifting of the War Measures Act that allowed the Japanese to return to the west coast after the internment years.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Spring, 2012.
Other titles by Pamela Hickman
Righting Canada's Wrongs 2023 Set
8 volume set + free resource guide