Dust of Eden
"We lived under a sky so blue in Idaho right near the towns of Hunt and Eden but we were not welcomed there." In early 1942, thirteen-year-old Mina Masako Tagawa and her Japanese-American family are sent from their home in Seattle to an internment camp in Idaho. What do you do when your home country treats you like an enemy? This memorable and powerful novel in verse, written by award-winning author Mariko Nagai, explores the nature of fear, the value of acceptance, and the beauty of life. As thought-provoking as it is uplifting, Dust of Eden is told with an honesty that is both heart-wrenching and inspirational.
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Albert Whitman & Company
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Dust of Eden Raises Issues of Identity
As a counterpoint to the battles and bombings of World War II, this short book journals the experience of a Japanese American family which was send to internment camps, It sheds light on the bind in which U.S. citizens with Japanese heritage found themselves after the 1942 attack on Pearl Harbor. The book relates the range of reactions--from confusion to humiliation to depression to enlistment in the U.S. armed forces-- evoked in Japanese Americans rounded up for internment camps.
While the reading level is Middle School, the complexity of the subject matter fit well with U.S. History, taught in 11th grade. Most of the students had not heard of the internment of Japanese Americans. Dust of Eden broadened the students' perspectives of the impact of World War II, contributed to meaningful discussions of stereotyping people, and raised questions about personal identity.