Sunday, February 24, 2008

Baseball Saved Us

Author: Mochizuki, Ken
Illustrator: Lee, Dom
Publisher and Date: Lee & Low books Inc. 1993
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age Range: K-3
Awards: 1993 Parents Choice Award

Summary: This is a story told by a little Japanese American boy whose family was taken away to an internment camp. He doesn't understand why the other kids at school made fun of him or why they have to stay in a dusty camp that isn't fun. The boy's dad comes up with the idea to build a baseball field in the middle of camp and they have a tournament. At the end, the boy is back at school where he was before the camp and they are playing baseball. People still make fun of him but his teammates encourage him and he hits a home run.

Response: I have never learned much about the Japanese Internment camps that were set up in the middle of the American deserts. This book taught me some of what it might have been like for those who were taken away from their homes to live there. The author's note in the beginning was very helpful in providing the background information for the time and setting of the story.

On the second page of the story it tells how the boy was taken out of school one day because him and his parents had to move out of their house really quickly. It tells how a bus took them away to a place where they had to live in horse stalls until they got to the camp. I can understand trying to protect our country from people who could potentially do a lot of harm to it, but that is just ridiculous to me. It is awful to think that we put our own people in situations like that. I can't imagine what I would think or do if my own country turned its back on me.

Teaching Ideas: This story would be good to use when talking about discrimination and even bullying. Students would probably be able to relate it most to the events of 9/11 and how we, as Americans, tend treat people of Middle-Eastern descent now. It is a terrible situation to be in, but we have to move on and not hold people accountable to how others have wronged us just because they look alike. I think it goes back to Because of Winn-Dixie where Gloria Dump tells Opal not to judge other people because of their past but to look at what they're doing now. In this case it isn't necessarily a specific person's past but the events of the past.

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