Love In the Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, illustrated by Yas Imamura

Published by Candlewick

Summary:  Tama and George have been at Minidoka, a prison camp for Japanese Americans, for a year.  Tama works in the library, and George visits every day to check out a stack of books.  The camp is dusty and hot in the summer, brutally cold in the winter, with monotonous days and no privacy for anyone.  Tama tries not to think about her previous life, when she would have graduated from college, instead immersing herself in the world of books at the library.  When she sighs over a book, George asks her what’s wrong.  Tama tries to put into words all that she’s feeling, and George assures her that she’s human to feel that way.  Tama realizes that George isn’t coming to the library just to check out a stack of books.  The two of them get married and have their first child in camp, and Tama sums up her experiences in her journal: “The miracle is in us.  As long as we believe in change, in beauty, in hope.”  Includes an author’s note about her grandparents, George and Tama (with a photo), and with additional information about the 120,000 Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II.  40 pages; grades 2-6.

Pros:  This moving story does not hesitate from looking at the bleak conditions of Minidoka nor the racism that brought George, Tama, and so many others to live there, but also focuses on the hope and beauty of their story.  

Cons:  Early elementary kids may not relate to the romance of this story.

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