Books About Internment Experience

Whether it is through biography, autobiography, or historical fiction, books illuminate and enrich the study of historical events. If you have additional books to add to the internment collection, please contact Kathleen Watt and Erica Swift, Project Coordinators.


Books About Internment Experience - Elementary Age

  • The Bracelet: Uchida, Yoshiko (1993). New York Times Best Illustrated 1993. Emi, a Japanese-American in the second grade, is sent with her family to an internment camp during World War II, but the loss of the bracelet her best friend has given her proves that she does not need a physical reminder of the friendship. Ages 5-8 years.
  • Baseball Saved Us: Ken Mochizuki (1995) (Lee & Low). Successful both as a story within the Internment experience and as a sports story. Tells the story of baseball within an internment camp. Ages 4-up.
  • Grandfather’s Journey: Say, Allen (1993).  American Library Association Notable Books for Children 1994; Boston Globe-Horn Book Award 1994; Caldecott Medal 1994. Tells the story of a man who emigrates to the United States, raises a family, and feels homesick for his native Japan. Notes that when he moves back to Japan, he longs for his life in the United States. The narrator/grandson also longs to live in both countries. Ages 5-8 years.
  • So Far From the Sea: Eve Bunting (1998). Laura Iwasaki and her family visit her grandfather’s grave at Manzanar for the last time and revisit that experience in their family history. Ages 5-up
  • The Children of Topaz: The Story of the Japanese-American Internment Camp: Michael O. Tunnell and George W. Chilcoat (1996). This non-fiction book was based on a diary kept by Miss Yamauchi’s third-grade class at the relocation center. Recommended for reading in conjunction with related fiction. Ages 8-up.

Middle School

Books About Internment Experience - Middle School Age

  • Farewell to Manzanar: Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston (1974). The true story of Wakatsuki’s own experience as a child growing up at Manzanar. Ages 12-up.
  • I am an American: A True Story of the Japanese Internment: Stanley, Jerry (1994). American Library Association Notable Books for Children 1995; School Library Journal Best Book 1994. Tells the story of a Japanese American high school student interred during World War II and relates it to broader historical events of the period. Ages 9-12 years.
  • Kira-Kira: Cynthia Kadohata (2004). 2005 Newbery Medal winner. Japanese-American family, living the the oppressive social climate of the South during the 1950 and early 60’s, encounters challenges and family tragedy. Ages 12-up.
  • Under the Blood Red Sun: Salisbury, Graham (1994). American Library Association Notable Books for Children 1995; American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults 1995; Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction 1995. Life changes abruptly for 13-year-old Tomikazu Nakaji, born in Hawaii to Japanese parents, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. with his father and grandfather arrested, he becomes responsible for the family honor. Ages 10-up.
  • Fred Korematsu Comic Book: Anupam Chander and Madhavi Sunder (from UC Davis). This online comic book depicts a young Muslim American girl’s struggles with her identity in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and how she learns from Korematsu’s courageous example. Ages 9-up.

High School


  • Farewell to Manzanar: Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston (1974). The true story of Wakatsuki’s own experience as a child growing up at Manzanar. Ages 12-up.
  • Only What We Could Carry: Lawson Fusao Inada (2000). This nonfiction book tells the story of the Japanese Internment is told through poetry, prose, autobiography, biography, news accounts, government documents, letters, and other primary resources. Ages 14-adult.
  • When the Emperor Was Divine: Julie Otsuka (2002). The devastating impact of a Japanese-American family’s internment during WWII unfolds though the shifting perspective of different family members.
  • The Moved Outers: Florence Crannell Means (1945). Newbery Honor book. Tells the story of a high school student moving through a series of relocation camps. Ages 12-15.