Monday, May 27, 2013

Fish for Jimmy

Fish for Jimmy
by Katie Yamasaki
32 pages; ages 6-10
Holiday House, 2013

The subtitle of this book tells a great deal: "Inspired by One Family's Experience in a Japanese American Internment Camp". It is, notes author & muralist Katie Yamasaki, a story based on the true experiences of her great-grandfather. But it is more: a tale of courage and love.

Jimmy and his big brother, Taro, live in California with their family. Then, one night in December 1941, they hear on the radio that Japan has bombed Pearl Harbor. FBI men pound on the door and take their father away, and later Jimmy, Taro and their mother are sent to live in tiny barracks surrounded by guarded fences and a desolate landscape.

Jimmy stops eating. The food is weird and he wants fish. Taro does something brave and dangerous: he sneaks a pair of garden shears in his pocket and, one night, snips through the fence and goes to the river where he catches fish for Jimmy. Yamasaki discusses Japanese internment camps at the end in a note to readers, and includes a photograph of the relocation camp where her family was sent.

This is a book my history-loving kids would have loved.
Review copy  provided by publisher.


  1. When my dad who is 87 was a boy and lived in Ogden, UT, he had a young Japanese-American friend that he and his other friends would play with. This boy had a fun personality. Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, they didn't see him anymore. My dad who served in WWII thinks he was probably taken to a Japanese camp. He never saw his friend again and wonders what happened to him. This book would interest him. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Well, this sounds like a powerfully poignant story. I'll have to check it out. thanks.

  3. What an incredible sounding story. Universal, but very time and place specific as well. Thanks for sharing it!