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Moss, Marissa.
New York : Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2013
IL 3.6, RL 5.0
ISBN 1419705210

(2 booktalks)
Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

Kenichi “Zeni” Zenimura's dream to be a professional baseball player started when he was eight years old and saw his first baseball game in Hawaii. Even though people told him he was too small to play professionally, he grew up to become a successful player, coach and manager in the Japanese American leagues. He even played with baseball greats Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig! After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Zeni and his family were sent with over 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry to a Japanese-American internment camp in the Arizona desert and imprisoned without trial. The camp was overcrowded and the living conditions were harsh. Zeni's love of baseball led him to build a baseball field in the desert, complete with grass and bleachers. Barbed Wire Baseball is a nonfiction story that tells the story of how the "father of Japanese-American baseball" kept his dream alive during unbearable conditions and in the face of many obstacles and gave hope to the residents of Gila River War Relocation Camp during World War Two.  (South Carolina Children's Book Award nominee, 2015 Prepared by: Kate Byrd, Belton Elementary School,

Booktalk #2

What is your passion?  For Kenichi Zenimura, known as Zeni, it was baseball.  Zeni was only eight years old when he saw his first baseball game, and from that moment he knew that he wanted to play.  It never mattered to Zeni that he was small in size.  He kept playing, and eventually grew.  He grew up to coach, manage, and play baseball in the Japanese baseball leagues in California.  He played in exhibition games in Japan and was chosen to play with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig when the Yankees played an exhibition game in Fresno, California.  Then in 1941, the Japanese Army bombed Pearl Harbor.  The United States entered World War II, and Zeni and his family were sent to an internment camp in the middle of the desert in Arizona.  Zeni felt the only way to make this horrible experience bearable was to play baseball.  He and his sons began to build a baseball field in the desert.  What started as a secret mission soon involved the entire camp resuting in baseball games everyday with thirty-two teams.  Read this inspiring book to find out how Zeni and baseball helped make a terrible time bearable for thousands of Japanese Americans.  (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award, 2015)

SUBJECTS:     Zenimura, Kenichi, 1900-1968.

                        Baseball -- History.

                        Japanese Americans -- Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945.

                        World War, 1939-1945.

                        Picture books for children.

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