Atkins, Laura and Stan Yogi. Fred Korematsu Speaks Up. Yutaka Houlette, Illus. Biography. Fighting for Justice Series; Bk. 1. Heyday, 01/2017. 103pp. $18.00. 978-1-59714-368-4. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 3-8.
Korematsu is considered the “Rosa Parks” of the movement protesting the Japanese American Relocation which occurred during WW II, and this new biography is perfect for the elementary school-age students who learn about him in local, California, and U.S. history classes (he was from Oakland/San Leandro). He defied the order to leave the West Coast, and was arrested and brought to court to fight for his Constitutional rights as a U.S. citizen. There is a dual text—the biographical passages are very simple and brief, almost free verse, telling his personal story using his first name, Fred. The other areas of the book describe related history, including pre-war discrimination, civil rights, life in the camps, and the court cases related to the issue. Included are photos provided by the Korematsu family and details of his life that have not been previously published in books for youth. The wealth of visuals (b&w and color photos, maps, newspaper clippings, artwork, and page decorations) will attract readers of a wide age range, who will be inspired by his life story. Back matter includes source notes, bibliography, index, sources for the visual elements, and an essay by daughter Karen Korematsu who runs the institute to promote his legacy. This is the first in a new series from Heyday entitled Fighting for Justice.
Penny Peck, San Jose State University, iSchool