Review Detail

Sensitive Portrayal of American and Japanese-American Relationships during WWII
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0

Like the rest of the country, twelve-year-old Piper Davis is horrified when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. She anxiously waits for news of her sailor brother while the country prepares for war. As rationing, drills and blackouts begin to sweep the nation, Piper worries for her brother and wonders what will happen next.

At the same, her Japanese friends begin to feel a backlash of anti-Japanese sentiment. Pipers father pastors a Japanese-Baptist church and Piper has grown up surrounded by loving Japanese friends, so when innocent Japanese men are sent to jail and their families sent to incarceration camps, Piper and her family express their outrage. Soon, Pipers father follows their friends to a camp in Idaho to make the squalid conditions a little more bearable for his parishioners. Though she resents the move, Piper begins to see more of humanitys multiple facets and comes to understand her role in overcoming the tragedies around her.

Newbery Honor-winning author Kirby Larson offers a sensitive portrayal of a young girl facing the terrors of war, even at safe at home. Piper is a real, relatable character whose thoughts remain true to her age, but who also grows through her struggles. The Fences between Us is also rich with details of life in the 40s and provides a fresh look at the state of America during this time period. American and Japanese-American relationships receive special attention in this thoughtful look at the incarceration camps.

Larson wisely creates a hobby for Piperphotographythat enables her to cope and to contribute in her own way. This subtle touch in a seemingly powerless situation will empower readers. Additionally, readers gain perspective of the emotions and events swirling around Piper and her friends.

The book includes photographs, illustrations, a recipe, a copy of Roosevelts Date which will live infamy address to Congress and a historical note.
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