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Children's LiteratureThis title is part of the "In America" series, which includes portraits of different immigrant groups. This book features the fascinating but painful history of Japanese immigration to the United States. Goldstein opens with a good, brief overview of Japanese history, leading into an account of Japanese immigration to America, including the story of the estimated 5,000 "picture brides" who came to the U.S. to marry men known to them only through their letters and pictures. Many readers may be shocked to learn that according to an 1875 law, only whites and African-Americans were eligible to become U.S. citizens; Japanese immigrants were thus denied U.S. citizenship for decades, further disadvantaged by the Alien Land Law of 1913 which banned the purchasing of farmland by anyone who was not eligible for citizenship—a cruel, racist double-whammy. Next, of course, followed the forced internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, movingly illustrated here with period photos of a Japanese-American-owned business bearing a sign declaring, "I AM AN AMERICAN," and of Japanese-American women cheerfully sewing an American flag in a relocation center. This valuable and sobering offering includes brief bios of a gallery of famous Japanese-Americans, a time line of Japanese-American relations, a glossary, a directory of sites to visit, scholarly source notes for each chapter, a bibliography, and an index. The series is further supported by Lerner's regularly updated companion website, www.inamericabooks.com. 2006, Lerner, Ages 8 to 12.
—Claudia Mills, Ph.D.