Reviews for Thin Wood Walls


Booklist Reviews 2004 September #2
Gr. 6-10. In this first-person narrative, readers find out what it was like to be a young Japanese American boy in Seattle after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. First Joe's immigrant dad is arrested and held in secret. Then the rest of the family is removed to internment camps. Joe's older brother can't wait to join the army and prove his loyalty, and he fights the Nazis in Europe, but that doesn't reduce the prejudice and the family's hardship. There have been several books about the Japanese American internment--fiction, nonfiction, and even a few picture books--including Ken Mochizuki's Baseball Saved Us (1993) and Yoshiko Uchida's autobiographical accounts. Like some of those, this one makes history the drama, and Patneaude scrupulously reports the facts and shows the wide range of attitudes among Japanese Americans and whites, citizens and immigrants, even among members of one family. Basing his story on extensive research and interviews, the author does a fine job of bringing the daily experience up close through the story of an American kid torn from home. ((Reviewed September 15, 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2005 Fall
Joe is a happy, well-adjusted eleven-year-old living near Seattle. When Pearl Harbor is bombed, he and his Japanese-American family suddenly become the enemy. Joe's anger and confusion, the prejudice he faces in his small community, and his forced relocation to an internment camp are all handled realistically in this moving novel. Copyright 2005 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2004 September #1
On the brink of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Joe Hanada and his family search for the perfect Christmas tree, invited to do so by a good neighbor. Joe and his family are Americans of Japanese origin, as are many in the farming community near Seattle, Washington. Soon, too soon, the friendly atmosphere of the place turns to active hatred by some. On December 7th, the FBI takes Joe's father away in his pajamas and the family begins to struggle to carry on. And then it's their turn. The walls of the title tell much about the harsh conditions in the guarded and fenced facilities where the "detainees" must live-each family in a single room. Some of the non-Japanese are good people, some hateful, and Joe's descriptions of them are powerful. Eventually, his father is returned to the family and his older brother joins the American army and is shipped into combat. Joe's first-person narrative is moving and clear in its depiction of this life, so cruel and unfair, though Joe's voice sometimes seems more mature than an 11-year-old. An important and forceful a contribution to the field. (Historical fiction. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus 2004 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2004 October
Gr 5-8-The bombing of Pearl Harbor puts an end to 11-year-old Joe Hanada's happy-go-lucky life in the White River Valley near Seattle. Basketball, marbles, and Christmas plans are suddenly overshadowed by fears about the war. When longtime acquaintances begin to suspect Japanese-Americans of being spies, even the loyalty of Joe's Caucasian best friend can't soften the hurt of being called names or of having his father, a leader in the Issei community, taken away by the FBI. Joe finds comfort in his journal, where he records his impressions in both prose and haiku. After he is sent to the Tule Lake Relocation Camp in California with his older brother Mike and their mother and grandmother, Joe finds relief from the tedium of confinement in his writing. When Mike turns 18, he volunteers for the Army, eager to prove his loyalty. Not all of the detainees share his desire to fight for the U.S. Some request repatriation to Japan, while others forbid their children to speak English. The inclusion of many differing viewpoints within the Japanese-American community makes this book unique. Featuring a main character who grows and develops as historical events unfold, this well-written novel is a worthy companion to Ken Mochizuki's Baseball Saved Us (Lee & Low, 1993) and Yoshiko Uchida's Journey to Topaz (Turtleback, 1985) and Journey Home (McElderry, 1978).-Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2004 December
In this beautiful, touching, coming-of-age World War II novel, Joe Hanada recalls his Japanese family's relocation to and suffering in American-built internment camps. The Hanada's stable family and community life is destroyed. After Pearl Harbor, neighbors spit on them and the FBI arrests Joe's father. Although the father's employer and some family friends offer support, the relocation order forces them to leave their home. The now fatherless Hanadas must adjust to stark Tule Lake. An army sergeant befriends Joe and his older brother, Mike, but hostile teachers and soldiers as well as the loyalty oath remind Joe and his friends that they are the enemy. Mike resolves to join the army to prove Japanese American bravery. The close of the novel sees the father returning to his family, a growing discontent in the camp, Mike's heroic death in the Vosges Mountains of France, and the Hanadas's realization that Canada, even after the war, will be more welcoming than their old neighborhood Intricate and informative, the story portrays the clash of love and prejudice with depth and even humor. Appealing to a broader audience than The Journal of Ben Uchida (Scholastic, 1999) and with more positive and personal characters than When the Emporer Was Divine (Knopf, 2002/VOYA June 2003), it is an excellent companion for Fighting for Honor (Clarion, 2000) and a great candidate for intergenerational reading programs.-Lucy Schall 5Q 4P M J S Copyright 2004 Voya Reviews.

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