Friday, December 7, 2018
Fact Friday and Review: Write to Me: letters from Japanese American children to the librarian they left behind by Cynthia Grady
Write to Me: letters from Japanese American children to the librarian they left behind by Cynthia Grady. Illustrated by Amiko Hirao. unpgd. Charlesbridge Publishers, January, 2018. (Review of finished copy courtesy of publisher.)
Fact Friday features Write to Me: letters from Japanese American children to the librarian they left behind by Cynthia Grady. Illustrated by Amiko Hirao. When Miss Clara E. Breed's young patrons turned in their San Diego library cards to her because they and their families were being forced to move, she gave each one a penny postcard with the request to write so she knew where they were. She went to the train station with a heavy heart to see them off. When the children wrote, Miss Breed's heart broke. She sent books and packages. She even visited the internment camp. She wrote articles about the harsh conditions and asked for donations. Information from the backmatter reveals that around thirty children sent over 250 letters to Miss Breed over the course of their imprisonment.
Using excerpts from the letters that were sent to Miss Breed, author Cynthia Grady weaves an emotional biography of an extraordinary woman. The pastel illustrations soften the harshness, but convey an appropriate bleakness for young readers. Endpages depict black and white photos from the time, with FDR signing the declaration of war against Japan, notices ordering "persons of Japanese ancestry" to leave their homes bringing only what they could carry, and more.
An author's note, notable dates from Breed's life, a selected history of Japanese people in the U.S., source notes, selected bibliography, suggestions for further reading and photo credits conclude this must-read biography.