Heroesby Ken Mochizuki, Dom Lee
A Japanese American boy learns about heroism from his father and uncle who served in the U.S. Army.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyThe creators of the estimable Baseball Saved Us move from a WWII setting to the Vietnam-era '60s with this affecting tale of a Japanese American boy. When Donnie plays war with his friends, he must represent the enemy-``because I looked like them.'' He hates always being the bad guy and wishes he could prove that his father and uncle both fought bravely in the U.S. army. They, however, are reluctant to come to his aid: ``You kids should be playing something else besides war,'' says his dad. Once again Mochizuki and Lee adroitly focus kids' attention on a pervasive social problem by giving it an individual face; they make their points in an age-appropriate fashion, neither trivializing the issues nor condescending to their audience. Mochizuki captures his protagonist's hurt, confusion and pride-emotions capably matched by Lee's atmospheric artwork. Produced with the same technique here as in the earlier book-images scratched out of beeswax on paper-his burnished paintings exude the patina of age and the glint of hard-won experience. Ages 4-up. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Susie WildeThe pair who so eloquently introduced children to the Japanese-American interment camps in Baseball Saved Us, tell another tale of prejudice in this book. Donnie's friends insist on playing war and he must always be the enemy because he looks like "them." Donnie knows his uncle and father are not enemies, but are heroes of the Korean War. Unlike other adults, they will not talk about the war and insist that real heroes "just do what they are supposed to do." Donnie's distress provokes a response that shows their wisdom, caring, and commitment to peaceful resolutions. The book has value beyond revealing history and allows children to question what heroism really means.
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