Baseball Saved Us

Baseball Saved Us

4.3 8
by Ken Mochizuki, Dom Lee

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A Japanese boy discovers hope and self-respect at an internment camp during World War II.


A Japanese boy discovers hope and self-respect at an internment camp during World War II.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble Staff
When a Japanese-American boy and his family are interned in a camp during WWII, they decide to combat their depression by building a baseball field. During a game the boy channels his humiliation--both from being a prisoner and from being a bad player--to anger, giving him the strength to hit a game-winning home run.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PW praised the ``stylish prose'' and ``stirring illustrations'' in this tale of a Japanese American boy's confinement in a WWII internment camp. Ages 4-up. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-- After briefly describing the way his family was removed from their home and sent to an internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II, the narrator, ``Shorty,'' tells how baseball was used as a diversion from the dire situation in which the camp's inhabitants found themselves. After improvising a baseball diamond, uniforms, and equipment, they played games. In one of these contests, the usually weak-hitting Shorty catches a glimpse of one of the ever-present guards and channels his anger toward the man into his swing, resulting in a winning home run. After the war and his return home, he continues to play ball while at the same time being subjected to racial taunts, again refocusing his anger to produce positive results on the diamond. The sport plays a secondary role to the blatant racism depicted in this somber book. The paintings, scratchboard overlaid with oils, effectively reflect the tone of the story. Pair this powerful title with Hamanaka's The Journey (Orchard, 1990). --Tom S. Hurlburt, La Crosse Public Library, WI
Hazel Rochman
The traditional sports story of the outsider who gains social acceptance when he hits a home run gets a new dimension in this picture book about a Japanese American kid interned in a desert concentration camp during World War II. In a spare, first-person narrative, "Shorty" tells how he and his family are suddenly moved from their home and set down behind barbed wire in a barracks in the desert. His father organizes the building of a baseball field, and, in sight of the armed watchtower guard, Shorty learns to play. After the war, when they return home, things are still bad: at school he has to eat lunch alone, and he still hears "Jap" insults--until he joins the team and whacks the ball right over the fence. Fences and watchtowers are in the background of many of Lee's moving illustrations, some of which were inspired by Ansel Adams' 1943 photographs of Manzanar. In shades of brown, Lee's images evoke the bleak desert isolation, and also the boy's loneliness in the school lunchroom after the war; in contrast is the focus on his close relationship with his father and the warmth of the team. The baseball action will grab kids--and so will the personal experience of bigotry.

Product Details

Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.25(w) x 10.25(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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Baseball Saved Us 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book to introduce grade school-age children to Executive Order 9066 and its consequences.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Baseball Saved Us is about a Japanese boy called Shorty who is living in a Japanese internment camp. The people there are bored so they build a baseball fied to help them cope with their situation. In Baseball Saved Us, Shorty is playing baseball. He is not very good at it but he thinks it is better than playing back home. Back home he would face prejudice. Baseball helped Shorty to break the raicial barriers and be accepted. In Baseball Saved Us Shorty learns that the more you try, the better you get, and you should never give up. This reminds ne of a batter for the New York Yankees who's name is Robinson Canoe who was bad at batting and who came back next season and hit four Home Runs in the first three weeks. He also hit a two run home run. I think that he and Shorty are very alike. This book tells people who are bad at a sport to never give up. Baseball helped him and the Japaneese to fight racism and be accepted. This book is a great book and I recomend this book to all those baseball fans!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Standing there in the hot desert, my dad and I inside a fenced off area with nothing to do, my was thinking of something for me and him to do together while we¿re here. My dad thought that we could build a baseball field because he know¿s that I enjoy playing baseball so we could build a baseball field and then play baseball with all of the other kids in this dad and I grabbed some shovels and started to dig the sagebrush up off then field area. After a while a couple other kids and parennts started to dig to in an hour or so almost everybody pitched in and since so much people were helping so tall the people split up into groups. Some parents took there bed sheets and started to make the uniforms, most of the adults were building the bleachers with some wood they found, and the rest kept on helping dig up the field and putting the bases in the ground. Finally they were done with the field, the paernts were done with the bleachers, and the rest were done with the uniforms. We were now ready to pick teams and start the season. The people here were acually my hieght andthey didn¿t make fun of me for being bad at baseball. We did good in the regular season. We were in the game game to decide the teams that played in the championship game. It¿s the begginig of the game, in the 9th inning the opposing team had the lead. They had scored 3 runs. They had the lead because we had only scored 2 runs. We were up to bat and I was up. There was a guy on 2nd base. The crowd was screaming at me that I was bad so I would be an easy out. I was almost scared enough to fake sick and let somebody else come up to bat so that we would have a better chance to win. I didn¿t fake sick because I thuoght people would make fun of me for being a chicken. The pitcher was ready to pitch. I stepped up to the plate and got set. The pitcher winded up and threw the ball, I swung and I missed. The pitcher winded up and threw the ball, I swung and I missed. The pitcher was very confident that I would strike out because one more stike and I was out. The crowd was so loud I couldn¿t here my own teamates screaming to cheer me on. The pitcher winded up he threw the ball,the ball was coming I waited and swung as hard as I could ¿. Did he hit it or not read the book to find out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about a boy and his family that get moved into a conservation camp by Americans that thought they couldn¿t trust Japanese Americans because of the bombing on Pearl Harbor. The people within the conservation camp decide to make the camp less depressing by building a baseball field. The reason I liked this book is because it shows some of the real things that happened in World War 2 to Japanese Americans. This is a great book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a very good book. It correctly displaced the lives of the Japanese prisonineers while telling the story of a boy and baseball.