Baseball Saved Us

Baseball Saved Us


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Baseball Saved Us—the groundbreaking children's book about the Japanese American concentration camp experience during World War II

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Shorty and his family, along with thousands of other Japanese Americans, have been forced to relocate from their home to Camp. One day Shorty’s dad looks out across the desert and decides they should build a baseball field. Fighting the heat, dust, and freezing cold nights, the prisoners need something to look forward to, even if only for nine innings. So in this unlikely place, surrounded by barbed-wire fences and guards in towers, a baseball league is born. And Shorty soon finds that he is playing not only to win, but to gain dignity and self-respect.

Inspired by a long-hidden and shameful part of America’s past, and the people who triumphed over it, this modern classic remains a moving story of hope, courage, and endurance. The new 25th Anniversary Edition features an updated cover and author's note.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781880000199
Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Publication date: 03/28/1993
Pages: 32
Sales rank: 84,064
Product dimensions: 9.90(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.20(d)
Lexile: AD550L (what's this?)
Age Range: 5 - 9 Years

About the Author

DOM LEE made his picture-book debut with Baseball Saved Us. He grew up in Seoul, South Korea, and went on to illustrate books in both the United States and Korea. His titles for Lee & Low include Ken Mochizuki's Passage to Freedom and Heroes, as well as the award-winning Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds. Lee's unique illustration style involves applying encaustic beeswax on paper, then scratching out images, and finally coloring the images with oil paint. Lee and his wife live in Hollis, New York.

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Baseball Saved Us 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
odonnell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
With picture book "Baseball Saved Us" , author Ken Mochizuki tells the story of a distressing time in California history...when Japanese-Americans were interned during World War II. The ordeal of many is told through the first person narrative of a young Japanese-American boy. (The reader never finds out the boy's real name, only that his nickname is "Shorty".) When the boy's older brother began becoming defiant towards his father, Shorty's dad decided he had to build a baseball diamond to get everyone's mind off the humiliation they were experiencing at the camp. Just as the book's title states, baseball really did save people. Everyone got involved with the endeavor. Mothers even sewed baseball uniforms out of mattress covers. It is important for fourth grade students to know that California had two Japanese internment camps. One was in Manzanar and the other in Tule Lake. Illustrator Dom Lee rendered the drawings by applying beeswax on paper and then scratching out the images. The drawings that depict scenes at the camp are brown and dark and depressing. Not until the end of the book, when the war is over and Shorty hits a homerun, does Lee add some color. What makes this book even more poignant is that Mochizuiki's own parents were sent to an inernment camp during the war.
AuntKrissy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Winner of the Washington State Governor's Writers Award, this book has also been translated into Spanish. The author was born, raised, and is currently living, in Seattle, WA. UW Grad. Parents were also born in the USA, grandparents moved here from Japan. Mochizuki has written a couple of other books for children as well. He is a journalist, writer, an actor, and a presenter. Mochizuki's parents were sent to the Minidoka internment camp in Idaho during WWII.
rebecca401 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
How to pass the time in a Camp from which you cannot leave? Even the adults don't have anything to do, until one day they decide to build a baseball field. Baseball unites and gives purpose to life, even within a society that hates and discriminates.
nmhale on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A picture book of serious matter, treated through a narrow focus that is more light in character and therefore more approachable to children. The setting is an internment camp for Japanese Americans, set up in our own country during the second world war, and the characters are father and son who decide that their people need a diversion to distract them from anger and fear and boredom. They build a baseball field, and soon the boy is playing ball all the time, improving under the eyes of the other prisoners and the tower guard. When the boy finally does leave camp, only to return to a world that has grown suspicious and hateful towards him, he relies on his skill in baseball to carry him through the challenging times.The story approaches the serious matter of our internment of our own people and doesn't hide from the injustice of the act or the ambiguities, but it also focuses on the human dignity that is possible even in horrible conditions. This book makes me remember that we need to constantly be aware of the equal rights of all people, and to stand against such injustices as these that were perpetrated in our past. It also lauds the spirit of Japanese Americans who persevered through this era of intolerance, and highlights their dignity and resourcefulness. Stories about bravery during tribulation are great reads for both children and the adults reading to them. They are inspirations, and serve as a counter to the corruption that is also presented within. Mochizuki's book is a great example, as it doesn't shy from the truth, and it doesn't exaggerate in the opposite direction, either - for instance, he doesn't portray all the Caucasian Americans as evil, but allows that some were good while others were responsible for hatred and bigotry. This picture book presents a clear picture of social injustice, and the humane response that can cure it.
JanaRose1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Imprisoned in an internment camp in America for those of Japanese descent, Shorty used baseball as a way to gain back a measure of dignity and self-respect. Despite the pain of leaving their entire life behind and forced to live in barracks, the people of the camp found a way to escape. They built a baseball field and formed their own baseball league. Although Shorty is not the greatest player, through his will and determination he is able to gain back a sense of his own worth.
CrystalRushton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Baseball Saved Us is the story of a Japanese-American boy, called Shorty, in a Japanese internment camp during the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attacks in World War II. At first, life in the camp is boring and dull and Shorty describes the camp as sad and deserted. Seeing the need to cheer the camp up, Shorty¿s father makes a baseball diamond so that the camp can play. People around the camp scrounge up equipment, uniforms, and create a league. Throughout the game, Shorty is bothered by an unfriendly guard who keeps them locked in the camp like prisoners. Shorty, never the best player, turns his feelings of anger towards his confinement into a home-run game-winning hit. Even once Shorty returns home, he still is subjected to racist actions as he continues to play baseball. All in all, I would recommend this book for upper elementary students, because it contains subject matter that may be difficult for younger students to understand. This book is an excellent text that can be integrated with social studies units, especially on World War II and on issues of race and discrimination.
ovistine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I would like a lot better had it been named something less over-the-top. However, OTT title aside, this is a book about the Japanese-American internment camps of WW2, a subject that most Americans these days know little-to-nothing about (unless you happen to be Japanese-American). The fact that the subject is covered in a children's book amazes me, but the author is the child of parents who were in Minidoka, and he has a personal interest in the story. I'm happy to say that the book is quite good without being as over-the-top as the title is, and does a good job of explaining what was happening through a kid's POV.
conuly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not many kids books deal with the Japanese-American situation during WWII. By and large, it's a piece of history that just isn't dealt with.This book takes a child's point of view, so the understanding of the situation is necessarily limited to what a child would understand. I would suggest that you read this book in conjunction with a more complete history lesson.
kdhayes06 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: In a Japanese camp during World War II the moral is very low. The adults get together and make a baseball field and uniforms. There is one little boy who isn¿t very good but he keeps trying if for no other reason than to show the guard who is always watching over them. Later after they are released the little boy is again playing baseball but finds himself being teased. This time he hits the ball long and hard for pride of himself.Personal: This is a story of courage and triumph. It¿s hard to believe that America did this in our past and unfortunately, I don¿t believe we fully learned from it. I can only hope that sharing books as this one will help children realize we are all humans and more alike than different.Classroom Extension:History-This book gives a short glimpse into the Japanese camps of World War II and some of the injustices done to the Japanese people.Social Studies- Bullying is a major factor for today¿s children. Reading this story to a class can help open discussions about how is made ¿Shorty¿ feel to be teased and how he overcame those feelings.
KaraCalderon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary:This story follows a Japanese family in the begining of WWII. Shorty's family is taken from their home, and put into a camp. It describes how they overcame the situation and began building a baseball field in the camp that they all played in. After being released Shorty is left out in school, but joins the baseball team. He hits the winning homerun hit, and earns respect of the other kids at school.Personal Reaction:I really enjoyed this book.I thought it would be a great book for older kids to get a glimpse of what happened to some japanese families during WWII.Classroom Extensions:1. Discuss how Shorty and his family must have felt being taken from their home and put in the camps, and what are other things they may have done.2. Discuss how the kids could have treated Shorty better before he hit the homerun.2.
Amber_88 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great example of historical fiction because it is not a biography of a child who grew up during Pearl Harbor, but it takes place at that time and contains historically accurate facts, such as groups and families being placed in camps and watched all the time. The setting is right after the Pearl Harbor attack. It takes place in a camp holding many Japanese Americans. Groups of whole families are there and only having communal bathroom and eating areas. It doesn't say exactly where it is but hints at the area by describing the days as hot and dusty and the nights as cold.
elpowers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great book, can help many ages learn about racism, as well as overcoming extreme circumstances.
Jparker03 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In 1942, while the united States were at war with Japan, all people of Japanese descent were moved to internment camps until 1945. The Story ¿Baseball Saved Us¿ is about a boy who isn¿t very good at baseball and is always picked last to play. His father makes a baseball field at camp. The other fathers find ways to make balls, bats, and gloves. The boy practices a lot. He gets good and when he gets back to school, he isn¿t picked last anymore. I liked the book because you get to see what it was like living in one of the camps. The boy also has a lot of determination to hit the ball because the guard was watching him and it shows that if you want to do something you just have to set your mind to it. All you need is determination and practice.You could play a game of baseball with your children or students. You could also make bats, gloves, and balls out of construction paper.
LindseyBallard on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a story about a young boy and his family that get sent to a camp durning WW II. The government did not trust them because they are Japanese. During this time, there was nothing to do so him and his dad decide to build a baseball field for recreation time. The young boy's triumph in a game played while in captivity helps him when he returns home and continues his baseball career. I did more research into this book and found out that the author who wrote this book was writing about when his parents were sent to this internment camp. I thought this was very interesting and makes the book that much better because it comes from real-life experience. This is a great book to teach children about acceptance. American is full of many different religions and cultures and sometimes all it takes is a simple book to get the message across. If there is a young child in your class who was just transfered, this would be a good book to read that day. Sometimes children don't warm up to others well, especially if they are of a different culture. The teacher could have the student's write a welcome letter to the new student. They could ask questions about where he came from, where he's been, or anything they can think of. This would of course need to be looked over by the teacher before dispersing. They could also write about a time when they did not feel accepted and how they over came it.
MarthaSohl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story takes place during World War II and is told from the perspective of a young boy, Shorty, who was sent with his family to live in a Internment camp because they were Japanese and the United States Government considered all Japenese a possible threat. Shorty's father was instrumental in forming baseball teams at the camp in an attempt to have something normal in their lives. The discrimination of the Japanese people did not stop simply because they were released from the camps after the war, Shorty knew he was different from the other children on his new baseball team and wanted to be accepted by them. The determined Shorty hit the ball over the fence and the other boys ran up to him and gave him big hugs finally allowing Shorty to feel accepted.This story was engaging for me. I felt Shorty's pain and loneliness. The happy ending of the ballgame helped but it was so sad to think that Shorty's problems were not over because of the xenophobia of people.This is an excellent example of the pain caused to another person by needless prejudice. This would also supply a good extension for teaching history. It shows that mistakes are made due to the fear factor and sometimes it is not until years later when the injustice of a decision can be seen.
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.