Caged Eagles


During World War II, Tadashi Fukushima and his family are forced by government edict to abandon their home and, along with other Japanese-Canadians, journey to an internment center where they await an uncertain fate. For Tadashi, fourteen, detention becomes both an adventure and a dilemma as he tries to understand the undercurrents of racism and injustice that have overtaken his life.

Eric Walters is a prolific author of books for young readers. Among his other titles is War of ...

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Caged Eagles

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During World War II, Tadashi Fukushima and his family are forced by government edict to abandon their home and, along with other Japanese-Canadians, journey to an internment center where they await an uncertain fate. For Tadashi, fourteen, detention becomes both an adventure and a dilemma as he tries to understand the undercurrents of racism and injustice that have overtaken his life.

Eric Walters is a prolific author of books for young readers. Among his other titles is War of the Eagles, the prequel to Caged Eagles. Visit for more information on Eric and all his books.

Fourteen-year-old Tadashi Fukushima and his Japanese Canadian family are evacuated from their village near Prince Rupert, British Columbia, and held in an internment camp where he struggles to balance being Japanese enough and Canadian enough to get along with everyone.

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Editorial Reviews

The Globe and Mail
"Subtle and powerful."
Quill & Quire
"Earns a place in both history and English classrooms."
"[Walters's] fast-paced novel avoids heavy-handed moralizing as it portrays the internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II."
Resource Links
"This novel is a moving account of one family's struggle to understand the injustice that has overtaken their lives and the racism that has imprisoned their community. Walters successfully captures the fear and uncertainty of the time."

"Walters's careful explanation of historical events and sensitive narration of the Fukushima family's story predominate to make Caged Eagles a memorable reading experience."

CM Magazine
"Walters successfully combines history, adventure, and social criticism in Caged Eagles while providing young readers a glimpse into Canada's past and a chance to consider serious issues inherent in any complex, multicultural society."

"Highly recommended."

From The Critics
Tadashi Fukushama and his family are relocated from their small Canadian fishing village to an internment camp during the second World War. Until then, Tadashi considered himself more Canadian than Japanese since he and his sisters were born in Canada. Leaving their boat, home, and most of their most prized possessions, Tadashi and his family try and adjust to the crowded, often violent conditions in the Vancouver camp. It is here, though, that Tadashi faces more racism. Plagued by self-doubt and fueled by anger, Tadashi comes to terms with what he finds most compelling in his own life and values. An excellent book for a middle grades reader, it is perfect as a companion to a social studies unit to explore a new historical perspective of the second World War. Readers who like this book will also enjoy Under the Blue Sun (Salisbury) and Farewell to Manzanar (Houston). Genre: Japanese/WW II 2000, Orca, 256p
It is not necessary to have read War of the Eagles first, though it would help because many of the characters are in both books. In the first, we heard that Jed's friend Tadashi and his family and neighbors were rounded up by the Canadian authorities and taken away to internment camps. This continues the story of what happened to Tadashi, a Canadian citizen. First the Japanese Canadians were taken to Vancouver and placed in what had been a fairground. The families were separated, with the men in one dormitory and the women and children assigned to stalls that had been used for animals. Each family member reacts somewhat differently, of course, with Tadashi's traditional grandmother having the hardest time adjusting to the communal toilets, the American food, and terrible living conditions. Tadashi's little sisters are pretty content because they have school and friends. Tadashi's father struggles with feelings of shame, as do many other adults. Tadashi makes friends with another boy about his age and the two have adventures sneaking out of the internment camp, getting into fights, and generally trying to understand what is happening to them. The book ends with the families sent to central Canada to work on farms, where the Canadian authorities feel they cannot pose a threat as potential spies. This shameful history parallels what happened to Japanese Americans who lived on the West Coast, a true story told to YAs in A Farewell to Manzanar, by a Japanese American woman who was at that internment camp when she was a child. Walters is a prolific writer for young people. He felt this story was one that should be told, especially to Canadian readers who might not know about this part of theirown history. (Sequel to War of the Eagles) KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2000, Orca, 256p, 00-100927, $15.95. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Claire Rosser; September 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 5)
Children's Literature
At age fourteen, Tadashi is two years too young to have to carry the card stamped ENEMY ALIEN. Set in Canada during World War II, this insightful sequel to War of the Eagles follows the fate of Jed's friend, Tadashi, who is forced from his Canadian home because of his Japanese ancestry. (Readers won't need to read the first book to enjoy this sequel, but they may want to anyway.) Tadashi and his family are crammed into smelly cattle stalls in a prisoncamp atmosphere of armed guards and distrust. "Shikataganai," meaning, "it can't be helped," is the unresisting motto of some of the older Japanese, but Tadashi doesn't feel Japanese. He's a loyal Canadian citizen who can't understand the detention of his neighbors and family. This narrative does a fine job of sensitively depicting the fear and racism that prevailed in Canada, as well as the United States, in 1941. It's also an exciting adventure story of a teenaged boy dangerously breaking government and family rules while trying to respect the heritage of both. Readers will discover that "dignity is not where you live, but how you live." Absorbed in this compelling story, they'll also come to appreciate many of the values of Japanese culture, as well as the significance of pride and friendship in perilous times. 2000, Orca, Ages 12 up, $15.95. Reviewer: Betty Hicks
What begins with a poignant scene in which a small, seven-year-old child asks her brother which of her dolls to pack, the priceless Japanese or the American doll she loves, ends with an equally compelling vignette of the same boy helping to sacrifice his father's boat. The action between these scenes follows fourteen-year-old Tadashi's ordeal from packing up the family's fishing boat, being herded to Vancouver, and finally being interned in a park with thousands of other Japanese Canadians during World War II. The strength of this book is in its vivid depiction of the confusion and resignation of the Fukushima family coping with the horrible events that occurred. Tadashi befriends Sam, also fourteen but a Vancouver native who speaks no Japanese. This relationship is a vehicle for Tadashi to learn to take risks, as Sam learns that the Japanese, although reserved, are not submissively accepting their fate. The kids become a part of a giant protest—each day, more and more interned Japanese line up for lunch, trays in hand, and graciously refuse the bland food. They sit at the tables wordlessly before removing their trays and returning to their living stalls. Although the action is compelling, this reader felt distanced from the events. The author details the "Japanese-ness" of the characters in ways that makes the reader an outsider looking in. For example, Tadashi's father speaks in stereotypically broken English, and the description of a cremation ceremony takes on an expository tone. These flaws, however, do not impede recommending this piece of historical fiction for collections seeking to add books about Japanese internment. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J S (Better than most, marred only byoccasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2000, Orca, 256p. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Ann Reddy-Damon VOYA, February 2001 (Vol. 23, No.6)
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-This sequel to War of the Eagles (Orca, 1998) stands on its own. In 1942, all the inhabitants of the fishing village in British Columbia where Tadashi Fukushima was born and raised are evicted and temporarily resettled in a former Vancouver fairgrounds. Courtesy, patience, and a fatalistic attitude seem to help the adults cope with the indignities to which they are subjected. However, 14-year-old Tadashi can't understand why they cooperate when family possessions must be left behind; his father is forced to live separately; and he, his mother, sisters, and elderly grandmother must make an animal's stall their home. Soon he finds a friend with whom he can explore and test the limits of their confinement. Slipping under the fence, they venture outside, only to discover the hostility of Vancouver streets. In the end, though, their willingness to take risks makes it possible for his father and other villagers to decide the fate of their boats, which represent their livelihood. Tadashi is a likable character who struggles to understand how his hardworking father and neighbors could be seen as spies, cares deeply for his family, and even has sympathy for the discomfort of a Canadian bureaucrat. Readers share his bewilderment at the injustice of his situation. In an afterword, the author makes clear the point at which the fiction differs from the historical record and discusses the difficulty of writing from outside the culture. A disturbing and convincing story that needs to be told.-Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
The much-awaited sequel to Walters' award-winning War of the Eagles (1998), this story continues the tale of what happens to fourteen-year-old Tadashi Fukushima and his family after the Canadian government has ordered all Japanese-Canadians to pack up belongings shortly after Japan enters WWII. Surviving the rough trip along the coast of British Columbia in their cramped fishing boat, Tadashi and his family find themselves placed in an internment camp in the center of Vancouver. Here they are assigned separate living quarters; each family's women and young children assigned to live in an old cattle stall in an overcrowded, large barn and the adult men assigned to a large dormitory. It is here that Tadashi cannot understand why the men and women have been separated or why they must live in such cramped conditions, nor why the Canadian government sees fit to set up a school for the younger children if, as he believes, they will not be staying long. He finds some clarity in talking with a friend he meets named Sam, who explains much of what has happened to the Japanese-Canadians and introduces Tadashi to the daily routine of the camp--along with Sam's own personal, not-permitted-by-the-rules way of coping with being trapped inside a perimeter fence. Still, Tadashi cannot fathom the injustice of the racism he and others in the camp are experiencing and he is especially angered and embittered by his grandmother's words of acquiescence to the whole situation: "shikata-ga-nai" (it can't be helped). When others risk their lives to help him when he breaks the rules and goes outside of the fence, Tadashi begins to realize what is at stake for his people. Only later, when his grandmother diesand the camp breaks the rules to give her a proper funeral pyre, does Tadashi fully understand his grandmother's words and learn to cope with what he himself cannot control. Though this book is listed for ages twelve to sixteen, many adults will find the story entertaining as well. Compelling and interesting, it is not just a fictional story, but educates readers about an era--of both Canadian and American History--which has been embarrassingly difficult to write or talk about because of the actions both governments took toward their own citizens during a time of war.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551431390
  • Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/2001
  • Pages: 260
  • Age range: 12 - 18 Years
  • Lexile: 650L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric Walters began writing in 1993 as a way to entice his grade-five students into becoming more interested in reading and writing. At the end of the year, one student suggested that he try to have his story published. Since that first creation, Eric has published more than seventy novels. Often his stories incorporate themes that reflect his background in education and social work and his commitment to humanitarian and social-justice issues. He is a tireless presenter, speaking to more than seventy thousand students per year in schools across the country. Eric is a father of three and lives in Mississauga, Ontario, with his wife, Anita. For more information, visit

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Read an Excerpt

Desperately I looked around for a way out. We couldn't get over the fence. The strands of barbed wire on top of it would rip us to shreds. Behind it, in the distance, the baseball game was going on. Why couldn't I have been there? The only way was the street...we'd have to dodge the cars. I took a step toward the street, but Sam put a hand on my shoulder.

"Nope," he said, shaking his head. "We're not running any farther."

"But...but...we can't fight them...we can't win," I stammered.

"We can't win, but we're going to fight them. Get rid of this," Sam said as he pulled the "I Am Chinese" button off my shirt and then took off his and stuffed them both in his pocket. "Cover my back and I'll cover yours."

They came forward slowly. They knew there was no place to go.

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