Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Review: The Fences Between Us: The Diary of Piper Davis, Seattle, Washington, 1941 by Kirby Larson (A Dear America Book)

Synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Piper Davis lives with her Father, a pastor at a local Japanese Baptist Church, and her older sister, in Seattle, Washington, in 1941. Her brother, Hank, enlisted in the Navy and is sent to Pearl Harbor. She spends days dreaming about boys and movie stars, wishing she could wear lipstick, and navigating seventh grade. Then Japan bombs Pearl Harbor and overnight, everything changes. When his congregation is sent to the Internment camps, her father goes with them, forcing Piper to leave her life in Seattle for life in Idaho. This Journal covers the months prior to Pearl Harbor up to the middle of 1943.
Although the people are fictional, the story is based on a real-life minister named Emery Andrews, who follows his congregation to their internment camp.

Review: With clear and simple prose, author Kirby Larson brings to life Piper Davis. Piper is a young girl whose life is centered on boys, lipstick, and friends – until her brother is caught at the attack on Pearl Harbor, until her Father’s congregation, all Japanese, are persecuted and sent to internment campus, until she if confronted with the realities of war. Larson did an excellent job of making Piper’s struggle authentic. Piper’s best friend and boyfriend both think it’s good to send the Japanese away, and don’t understand Piper’s struggle. Her worry for her brother, her concern about her people she’s known all her life, her initial struggle to accept her father choice to move to Idaho, and her own realization about right and wrong makes this a strong story worth reading. It’s a complex subject and the book does an excellent job of making it understandable to young readers without dumbing down the subject. Suitable for elementary age readers and a fine place to start for discussions about this topic.

Bookmarks: 4.5 of 5

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-545-22418-5
Year Published: 2010
Date Finished: 2-15-2017
Pages: 311

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