Children's Literature - Greg M. RomaneckIt is 1941 and Harry Yakamoto is growing up in Seven Cedars, California. An avid baseball fan, Harry struggles to get an opportunity to play in the neighborhood games. Other boys resist letting Japanese-American boys play in the games and make no bones about their prejudices. Then the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor occurs and everything in Harry and his family's life changes. The Yakamotos are rounded up along with all their Japanese-American neighbors and dispatched to internment camps in distant locales. It is the story of the internment process that affected tens of thousands of Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans that is told in this work of fiction. The focus of the story switches back and forth between details of the Japanese-American experience in the internment camps and Harry's ongoing pursuit of his passion for baseball. The book also includes a brief historical review section at the end that provides further context for the reader. All in all The Lucky Baseball is a novel that will appeal to readers with an interest in history and sports. Although the writing bogs down at times with details of baseball game action it does a workmanlike job of telling the story of one boy's experience during a sad chapter of American history. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
School Library JournalGr 5–7—Harry Yakamoto lives with his father and grandparents above the restaurant they operate in Seven Cedars, CA. His prized possession is a signed baseball from Joe DiMaggio. As Japanese-Americans in the early 1940s, Harry and his family often face discrimination, but things get worse after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Yakamotos are forced to relocate to the Manzanar Internment Camp, where they live in close quarters, eat meals in a mess hall, and share a communal bathroom. Determined to make the best of the situation, Harry organizes a baseball team and improves his pitching, thanks to a kindly guard who gives him some pointers. The setting is brought to life with vivid descriptions of life in 1940s America and in the internment camp. Baseball is woven seamlessly throughout the story and will appeal to sports fans. However, sometimes the narrative can seem a little too much like a history lesson. For example, when Harry is leaving the camp, he summarizes several events that occurred there in a manner that seems a little too mature for a 12-year-old. Overall, this is a solid, but additional, purchase.—Kristen Oravec, Flint Hill Middle School, Oakton, VA
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The Lucky Baseball: My Story in a Japanese-American Internment Camp based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Synopsis: Harry Yakamoto lives a normal life in Seven Cedars, CA, until his family is interned in Manzanar, a Japanese internment camp. Baseball becomes is preoccupation and salvation during the many years his family lives in the camp. Why I like this book: I’ve always been fascinated by Manzanar. Driving past it, there is no sign that it was home to thousands of Japanese-Americans who were held against their war during World War II. I’ve also found Manzanar to be a fascinating topic because it’s rarely discussed. Lieurance’s expertly told story provides insight into the harsh conditions of Japanese internment camps. Her plot is transporting and her characters well-developed. Children will enjoy Harry and his passion for baseball without realizing how much they are learning. As usual, Enslow provides backmatter explaining the real history and providing links to further reading. Source: Publisher-provided copy
Harry Yakamoto is a California kid in 1941. He spends his days, when not in school, helping in his family's restaurant which is located below their home. When he plays it is usually baseball. He's a happy go-lucky, typical American kid - until the US joins World War Two after the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. Harry's life changes dramatically. He and his family, with only what they can carry, are sent to "camps" out in the dessert, away from everything and everyone, except other Japanese-Americans. Their new home is a one room box with a dusty floor and no privacy. He lives here with his parents and grandparents. Surrounding the internment camp are guards meant to keep them in not to keep others out. It all feels like a prison with occupants' only crime being of Japanese decent. Harry's family soon gets busy. His father takes over the dining room and kitchen. Harry forms a baseball team and then a league to play against other interned kids. Soon a guard helps with equipment and the games become a focal point of the week. Harry and his family learn to make the best of a bad situation. When they return home they will need to do that one more time. This is a fascinating story showcasing the internment camps of World War Two. Harry and his family instantly come to life and it is easy to feel the injustice of their situation. This is a fun read and kids will learn about a part of US history that is not talked about much anymore. Another very good tale of historical fiction by author Suzanne Lieurance. Note: received book from author