In the opening pages of Jamie Ford's debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel. once the gateway to Seattle's Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades. but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol." "This simple act takes Henry back to the 1940s, when his world was a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father. who was obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American.
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life—until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her young brother make their way to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to fight for their lives. Lina finds solace in her art, documenting these events by drawing. Risking everything, she imbeds clues in her drawings of their location and secretly passes them along, hoping her drawings will make their way to her father's prison camp. But will strength, love, and hope be enough for Lina and her family to survive?
Dear Miss Breed by Joanne Oppenheim
A chronicle of the incredible correspondence between California librarian Clara Breed and young Japanese American internees during World War II.
In the early 1940's, Clara Breed was the children's librarian at the San Diego Public Library. But she was also friend to dozens of Japanese American children and teens when war broke out in December of 1941. The story of what happened to these American citizens is movingly told through letters that her young friends wrote to Miss Breed during their internment. This remarkable librarian and humanitarian served as a lifeline to these imprisoned young people, and was brave enough to speak out against a shameful chapter in American history.
Looks like I have been on a World War Two reading kick doesn't it? I really found myself drawn to the both Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and Between Shades of Gray. They both gave me a little insight to parts of World War Two that I didn't know much about (Japanese internment camps and the Soviet Union) and the stories felt so real, which led me to Dear Miss Breed where I was able to read actual letters from the children who were imprisoned because of their Japanese ancestry during that time. It was a slow read but insightful.
What are you reading?