Tomi was born in Hawaii. His grandfather and parents were born in Japan, and came to America to escape poverty.
World War II seems far away from Tomi and his friends, who are too busy playing ball on their eighth-grade team, the Rats.
But then Pearl Harbor is attacked by the Japanese, and the United States declares war on Japan. Japanese men are rounded up, and Tomi’s father and grandfather are arrested. It’s a terrifying time to be Japanese in America. But one thing doesn’t change: the loyalty of Tomi’s buddies, the Rats.
©2014 Graham Salisbury (P)2014 Listening Library
Winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. An ALA Best Book for Young Adults. A Booklist Children’s Editor’s Choice.
Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
I read this ALA notable book when it first came out and loved it. The story starts shortly before the bombing of Pearl Harbor and opens the life of a young Japanese American, Tomikazu and his family living near the harbor. After you "see" his normal life with racing pigeons, baseball, school, deep sea fishing, friends & family... the bombs fall and we then watch as his family is torn apart and he steps up to help. Covering material similar to "The Corner of Bitter & Sweet" and "Tallgrass," this is aimed for a younger audience... I'd guess 6th to 9th grade.
The book opens slowly and the narrator has a slow "Hawaiian" pace... I was antsy at first, but after the bombs fall and the plot picked up I didn't notice it as much. I'd be tempted to increase the speed if I read again. This would be a good book to listen to with a child... opening topics for discussion like history, war, loss, discrimination, patriotism, fear, courage, change and bullies. These kinda hard topics aren't as much fun as some fiction but still needed for a well rounded education. Older teens/adults would enjoy "Tallgrass."
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