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Salisbury, Graham.
New York : Wendy Lamb Books, 2005.
ISBN 0385908741

(2 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

Eddy felt duty-bound.  His friends had already enlisted in the army and it was just a matter of time before he was drafted.  Sure, he was only 16 but with a little careful alterations, his birth certificate now proclaimed he was 18 and old enough to enlist.  Army life started out as drills and orders but that was all about to change.  When the bombs started falling around his island, he just couldn't believe that it was the Japanese who were bombing Pearl Harbor.  His dad was from Japan and always wanted to send Eddy back to attend college.  But in a few short hours, lives and dreams were shattered.  How could Japan attack their new country?  And now Eddie, along with the other Japanese American soldiers, were the enemy too.  Sent to an island off the coast of Mississippi, Eddy and his friends were now being used in a top secret training mission.  Even though this is a work of fiction, it is based on real events that happened during World War II.  You may be very surprised to find out what Eddy's mission was.

Booktalk #2

This historical fiction story of racism and prejudice against Japanese Americans in World War II involves sixteen-year-old Eddy Okubo who has proudly enlisted in the United States Army in Hawaii shortly before Pearl Harbor.  When war is declared Eddy’s unit, which is entirely Japanese American, is sent to Mississippi for a misguided experiment inspired by scientific racism.  Dogs were being trained to hunt out Japanese soldiers in the Pacific because, of course Japanese smell different. Eddy’s unit is the bait during arduous and sometimes vicious training.   All along Eddy and his companions ask if they smell any different.  In the end, the theory is proven wrong.  Readers will be incensed at the thought of such bigotry and will appreciate Eddy’s indignation and his efforts to be a good American soldier.  Add to this, the conflict of many cultures and generations. Eddy and his generation are Nisei and consider themselves American.  His father, on the other hand, is an immigrant from Japan and still holds on to certain loyalties.  This is resolved when his father realizes that Eddy is doing the correct thing and Eddy learns to appreciate his father’s intrinsic values.  Looking at some of the happenings in the world today, one will realize that racism is still a major issue.  In his note at the end Salisbury explains the real story and the factual events in this book.  He also has added a glossary of Hawaiian, Hawaiian Pidgin English and Japanese words.  (Jean B. Bellavance for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards, 2007-2008)

SUBJECTS:     World War, 1939-1945 -- Fiction.
                        Japanese Americans -- Fiction.
                        Dogs -- War use -- Fiction.

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