Hughes, Kiku. Displacement. Kiku Hughes, Illus. Graphic novel. First Second, 08/2020. 288pp. $17.99. 978-1-250-19353-7. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 7-12.
Japanese American teen Kiku visits San Francisco’s Japantown with her mother, trying to find the place her grandparents lived before being sent to an internment camp in 1942. Kiku is pulled back through time to the camp and observes her grandmother’s experience from afar, as an anonymous resident of the camp herself. When she returns to the present and learns her mother has also traveled through time, together they become activists against racist government policies; they refuse to stand by and let it happen again. Through their experiences, this book illuminates the generational trauma resulting from incarceration: how it disconnected later generations from their culture and caused a schism in the community of people of Japanese ancestry. However, it also highlights the inspirational work of Japanese American activists. The art is spare with a muted color palette, communicating the camps’ bleakness as well as the power of Kiku and her mother’s current day activism. This book has California-specific content.
Carla Riemer, Independent