Monday, March 24, 2014

Fish for Jimmy

Yamasaki, Katie. 2013. FISH FOR JIMMY: INSPRIED BY ONE FAMILY’S EXPERIENCE IN A JAPANESE INTERNMENT CAMP. Ill. by Katie Yamasaki. New York: Holiday House. ISBN 9780823423750 [Suggested Grade Levels 1-4]

Jimmy and Taro are Japanese-American brothers, born to parents who emigrated from Japan prior to World War II. They enjoyed their lives of swimming in the ocean off the California coast and working in their parents’ vegetable market. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Jimmy, Taro, and their mother are forced into an internment camp while the father went to prison. Jimmy becomes horribly depressed and refuses to eat. Taro, his brother, begins sneaking out of the camp to catch the fish Jimmy so very much loves in order to create some sense of normalcy in Jimmy's life, as well as to save Jimmy’s health.

In an author’s note, Yamasaki explains details from Fish for Jimmy are based on a true story, although the story itself is fiction. Yamasaki shares photographs of her great-grandfather, on whom this story is based, as well as the internment camp where the great-grandfather was located. The acrylic-on-canvas illustrations are emotional and tell a story far beyond what words can convey.  Most pages contain surrealistic elements in addition to the standard illustrations to enhance what is occurring internally.

Fish for Jimmy lends itself to study about internment camps, the Japanese-American experience during World War II, and using art to convey emotion and to enhance text.

Other books for children about the Japanese internment camp experience during World War II:
Bunting, Eve. SO FAR FROM THE SEA. ISBN 9780547237527
Mochizuki, Ken. BASEBALL SAVED US. ISBN 9781880000199

By Jennifer E. Richey

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