Tunnell, Michael O. Desert Diary: Japanese American Kids Behind Barbed Wire. Non-fiction. Charlesbridge, 08/2020. 147pp. $19.99. 978-1-58089-789-1. HIGH ADDITIONAL. GRADES 4-8.
Mae Yanagi was just 7 years of age when her family was forcibly removed from their home in Hayward, California and relocated first to the Tanforan racetrack and then to the Topaz center (which the author purposely avoids calling an internment camp, as explained in the author’s note). There, she and her classmates made a special scrapbook that is the basis of this history of the WW II Japanese American experience. Tunnell (The Children of Topaz, Holiday, 1996) has written other books on this topic, and this is equally well researched; because it is told through the experience of children and young adults, including noted Berkeley author Yoshiko Uchida, it is especially compelling and relevant to Bay Area libraries. Color or b&w photos on nearly every page add interest and are well captioned, helping those newer to this subject grasp the stark circumstances of this imprisonment. These include both general photos as well as reproductions of pages from the diary/scrapbook. Back matter includes source notes, a bibliography, an index, and other clarifying notes from the author and editor. Includes California-specific content. Review based on an ARC.
Penny Peck, San Jose State University, iSchool