Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration during World War II and a Librarian who Made a Difference

Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration during World War II and a Librarian who Made a Difference


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In the early 1940's, Clara Breed was the children's librarian at the San Diego Public Library. But she was also friend to dozens of Japanese American children and teens when war broke out in December of 1941. The story of what happened to these American citizens is movingly told through letters that her young friends wrote to Miss Breed during their internment. This remarkable librarian and humanitarian served as a lifeline to these imprisoned young people, and was brave enough to speak out against a shameful chapter in American history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780439569927
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 09/28/2005
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 333,629
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 10.25(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: 1040L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Joanne Oppenheim is the author of more than fifty books for and about children. In addition, she is the president and cofounder of Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, Inc. One of the country?s most highly regarded child development experts, Oppenheim is seen regularly on NBC?s Today show, where she is a contributor.

Her latest book, Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference, came about when Joanne was planning her high school reunion and began searching for Ellen Yukawa, a Japanese American friend. Through her search she discovered the website of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles and the letters to Miss Breed. With the National Museum?s help, Joanne eventually found her friend and discovered that Ellen had spent the war years at Poston, the internment camp in Arizona from where the letters to Miss Breed were sent. Eager to write about and share these stories, for three years Joanne Oppenheim worked on this book, locating and interviewing many of Miss Breed?s ?children.? Joanne hopes that her readers view this story, not as an isolated event of the past, but rather as an event to keep in our collective memory to ensure that it doesn?t happen again.

Joanne Oppenheim lives in New York City with her husband and is the mother of three grown children and the grandmother of seven.

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Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration during World War II and a Librarian who Made a Difference 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
ark76 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The focus of this book is an in depth look a WWII internment camps through the eyse of a t a young female librarian and the relationship she fostered with the children whom she had served that were "relocated" into internment camps for those of Japanese ancestry on the West coast. The majority of the book depicts the experiences of the children and their relationship with the librarian through the publication of letters written to their beloved Miss Breed. It is a one way conversation as Miss Breed's letters to them have not survived. The author enhances this information with a history of the internment program and Miss Breed's efforts to publicize the inequal and racist policies of this program. As a student pursuing a Masters in Library Science, I recommend this book for all future librarians to remind us of the far-reaching role of a librarian - that by serving information needs, we also are serving human needs. I also recommend this book for students in middle and high school studying the aspects of US history that involve: prejudice, government injustice, the holocaust. The voices of the children will make this book meaningful and easy to read and gives a different perspective not often heard.
abbylibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting, though sprawling, book about children in the Japanese internment camps during WWII and one librarian who kept in touch with many of them. Many photos are included along with letters from children in the camps. A great book to look through, but it's very long and not very focused, so I ended up skimming the second half of it. This would be a nice companion book to a more concise history of the internment camps.
YouthGPL on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Susan says: This book was part of my Children¿s Literature class that I took last fall, and I never got around to reading it. I thought it would be really interesting because it talked about a librarian from San Diego, and Japanese Americans who were in an internment camp in Arizona. A shorter book might have been of more interest. As it is, this is a history of this specific group of San Diegans during WWII, and their history in the camps, mainly at Poston. It is extremely thorough, but I am not sure who the target audience would be. While I think kids could use it for research, I think there are not many children of the right age who are actually doing projects on this. I also had problems with the tone quite often ¿ Oppenheim really castigates the government for calling things having to do with the Japanese Americans protective custody, when really the government believed they were protecting the rest of the Americans. I think we all know this was wrong, and it felt like she was injecting her personal bias into the history. I can imagine that this book is very popular in San Diego, but it took me over a week to read, and it did drag on.
KarenElissa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A unique perspective on the Japaneses interment, told from the letters of children and teens written to a librarian in San Diego. I enjoyed the letters and hearing the first hand accounts from the children. On the down side, the author does a bit too much sermonizing at certain points, I'd prefer to let the letters just speak for them selves. Also, a minor point, the book is rather oversized which makes it not so convenient.
bettyjo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
oral history of the treatment of Japanese Americans during WWII
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dear Miss Breed is a book about life before, during and after internment camps and how one librarian helped a number of people along the way which takes place in 2001.  Dear Miss Breed is narrated by a character named Cathrine Byres who is in search of everyone from her graduating class from high school in order to have a reunion.  She is in particular search of one class mate she once had but never graduated with Ellen Yukawa.  In order to search for Ellen she searches online on the Japanese American National Museum website but begins to encounter many people from Ellen’s past like old friends and Miss Breed.  Cathrine continued to look for Ellen by contacting Miss Breed and on the website looking through all records of letter to and from Miss Breed.  During her studies trying to find her friend Ellen she begins to learn a lot about Miss Breed and her connections with many people making it complicated for Cathrine to find her friend but nice to learn what a remarkable librarian did for those suffering in internment camps and how it helped them through the bad time in the camps and through making it out of the camps and moving forward positively with their lives.  Some became officers for the next war and others became just happily married people living their lives in peace.  I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn about life in Japanese Internment Camps during World War II.  The fact that everything in this book is one hundred percent non-fiction is incredible and I believe anyone with knowledge about Japanese Internment Camps should read this.  I definitely was touched by this book and the people in it this was a tear jerking and heartwarming read.   
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a high school sophomore who had to do a research project. I was enlightened by reading this book. It is about the young lives of Japanese-Americans being taken in to internment camps during WWII and a librarian who gave them hope. The librarian gave these children books to read on  a daily basis. She was the city librarian and knew these kids well. She always encouraged reading, which the kids loved. Miss Clara Breed, children's librarian, knew the children before they were forced into these camps. As each of the kids were being taken she handed them pre-addressed postcards with her address on them. She told the kids to write her when it was safe. All the children wrote to her immediately. They were depressed and hated the camps. Miss Clara Breed, librarian, sent the children books to read while they were incarcerated. The kids loved her so much, and were thankful of her. They loved reading and just wanted out. She gave  them books of all levels. The kids were thankful and even created a library in the camps. Starting the library was hard because they started out with only ten books. This is an emotional read, because of the actual letters that are displayed in the book. As a reader i could feel there pain and wish i could have helped. Dear Miss Breed, is not only a great book, but an informative book, especially for information on internment camps and japanese culture.