Do you just love it when you get a book in that supplements what a student is studying? Displacement is one such book. A graphic novel about the Japanese placed into internment camps during WW2. Kiku from modern San Francisco finds herself transported back into history where she finds herself sharing her grandmother’s time in internment.
What I am Reviewing
First Second always does a great job with their graphic novels, and displacement is no exception. With good images and succinct text you learn the story well without extraneous language. Pictures that help tell the story, conveying mood, and introducing stories that some middle-schoolers would otherwise not read.
Kiku Hughes has written an historical novel taking us back in time.
Kiku is on vacation in San Francisco when suddenly she finds herself displaced to the 1940s Japanese-American internment camp that her late grandmother, Ernestina, was forcibly relocated to during World War II. ….
Living alongside her young grandmother and other Japanese-American … , Kiku …witnesses the lives of Japanese-Americans who were denied their civil liberties and suffered greatly, but managed to cultivate community and commit acts of resistance in order to survive.
I received an advanced reader copy from Raincoast books to review.
You’ll find simple chapter headings. Starting with the west, and ending with home. Not every chapter has a unique title, about every other one does. You’ll find a circle on a mostly white page with a chapter number, without or with a title.
You’ll find the text small, written in with a block-style text. Despite the size of the text, I found it easy to read. Each letter written clearly and despite a similar font to the old comic books, very clean in presentation.
You’ll find ample use of white space and colour. I loved that facial expressions portrayed a good part of the story. You could see the hurt, fear, confusion, anger, and moments of joy expressed. Sorrow was often shown … for lives lost, for hopes crushed, and for the feelings of abandonment by their own government.
You’ll only get the Japanese-American side of the story, not the governments, or the fear of American society at the time. But the reader will catch a real glimpse into a time period that shaped the Japanese-American culture for years post-WW2.
I loved how Kiku connected with her mom at the close of the book, able to talk together about the things she experienced, and discovered together more about her grandmother.
Should you Get it?
Displacement opened my eyes to a lot of the issues concerning the Japanese-American internment camps. A scary and difficult time with really no good options for any of these American citizens unjustly imprisoned.
It is well worth getting just for the potential discussion questions. I do recommend that parents read this book WITH their children. A lot of issues are presented that taking the time to talk about them together would be beneficial.
I do need that mention that there is a light female-female romance including a kiss. I don’t understand the need to add this to the storyline, as the story would have been complete without it. It’s not even a time in history where such choices were acceptable so it didn’t really fit. It does fit though with one of many issues to discuss.