Gaijin: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War - Matt Faulkner

Gaijin is the fictionalized story of Faulkner's great aunt's and cousin's stories about being in the Japanese internment camps during WWII. I really enjoyed this book because it is the story seldom brought up in history classes and seen through such a unique perspective - that of 13 year old biracial boy (Koji Miyamoto) and his white mom (his Japanese father is back in Japan caring for his parents) living in San Francisco when Pearl Harbor occurs. Koji never really felt like a gaijin, or outsider, until then and it is worse in the camps. Koji is forced to go to the camps but not his white mother - she decided to go with him because she didn't want to be separated from her boy. Luckily, they have her husband's employers in the camp to help her help her son through this difficult time (being a teen and time of war). 

 

The artwork is stunning and impactful. I highly recommend reading this to kids as a starting off point as there isn't any graphic violence but some aspects of Koji's life can be applied to their lives as well (bullying, separated families for examples).