Baseball Saved Us
During World War II, a young Japanese-American boy and his family are sent to an internment camp after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Despondent in their desolate surroundings, father and son pull the camp together to build a baseball diamond and form a league. (Amazon.com)
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Lee & Low Books
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Resource for Teaching About Interment Camps
Baseball Saved Us is a picture book appropriate for students as young as mature second graders and has uses through the upper elementary grades and possibly stretching into the middle school years. Themes found in the book include Japanese-Americans, World War 2, baseball, internment camps and prejudice. The book would be particularly useful in a study of World War 2 and/or prejudice. There are a variety of videos that can be found online that provide strong visuals to accompany the book. Recommended video search terms include “baseball in Japanese internment camps,” “baseball behind barbed wire,” and “life inside a Japanese internment camp. Most videos will likely be appropriate for older elementary students and/or middle school students. One possible cross-curricular use of the Baseball Saved Us would be during a comparison of treatment of Japanese in us internment camps to treatment of Jews by Germany during the Holocaust.
Teachers wishing to do a picture book study with a Japanese theme might consider using Baseball Saved Us in conjunction with Allen Say’s picture book, Grandfather’s Journey. Grandfather's Journey is the story of the author’s grandfather and reflections of a life lived both in the United States and Japan. Students might use the texts to compare and contrast the Japanese American experience in the Unites States in the 1940s found in Baseball Saved Us and the effect of war in Japan during the same period found in Grandfather’s Journey.