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Children's Literature Reviews
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The journal of Ben Uchida, citizen 13559, Mirror Lake Internment Camp
by Barry Denenberg.
New York : Scholastic Inc., 1999.
156 p. : ill. ; 20 cm.


"Ben Uchida is a fictional character, created by the author, and his journal is a work of fiction"--Copr. p.
Twelve-year-old Ben Uchida keeps a journal of his experiences as a prisoner in a Japanese internment camp in Mirror Lake, California, during World War II.

Best Books:

Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for PreK-Grade 6, 13th Edition, 2002 ; National Council of Teachers of English; United States
Eureka! California in Children's Literature, 2003 ; Book Wholesalers, Inc.; United States
Middle and Junior High School Library Catalog, Ninth Edition, 2005 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Middle And Junior High School Library Catalog, Supplement to the Eighth Edition, 2001 ; H.W. Wilson; United States

Awards, Honors, Prizes:

Jefferson Cup Award, 2000 Series Worthy of Note Virginia

Curriculum Tools:

Link to Discussion Guides at Scholastic
Link to Discussion Guides at Scholastic

Reading Measurement Programs:

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Middle Grade
Book Level 5.2
Accelerated Reader Points 4
Accelerated Vocabulary

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.
Lexile Measure 850

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 3-5
Reading Level 6
Title Point Value 6
Lexile Measure 850


Todd Morning (Booklist, December 15, 1999 (Vol. 96, No. 8))
This book in the Dear America series explores the forced internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Beginning with the attack on Pearl Harbor, the fictional diary of Ben Uchida captures the hysteria that spread through the West Coast as Japanese Americans suddenly found themselves the focus of anger and suspicion. Soon Ben and his family are stripped of their possessions and separated. Ben's father is sent to a camp in Montana. Ben and his mother and sister are sent to a camp in desolate Mirror Lake, California. The journal describes the boredom and banalities of life at Mirror Lake, while references to barbed wire, armed guards, and watch towers serve as grim reminders that Ben is in an American concentration camp. Yet, this story is not polemical. Ben isn't a poster child for past wrongs. Instead, he comes across as a real kid, coping with anger, resentment, confusion, and fear. Historical notes put the World War II internment in the context of a long history of prejudice against Japanese Americans. Category: Middle Readers. 1999, Scholastic, $10.95. Gr. 5-8.

Sharon Salluzzo (Children's Literature)
In the spring of 1942, on order from the United States government the Uchida family, and all families of Japanese ancestry, were transported to concentration camps in the United States. Before he left, Ben's best friend gave him a notebook to keep a journal. Ben keeps his promise, and the reader becomes privy to his thoughts, impressions, and the occurrences at the camp for one year. Bitterness and bewilderment intermingle as Ben tells how he, his mother and sister must share a room with another family and stand in line to use the lavatory, take a shower and eat their meals. The reader feels Ben's sense of betrayal with the way the American government treats them. Part of the "My Name Is America" series, this story is fiction, but may be based on real people and events. The historical note and photographs provide background for a fuller understanding of this time in America. With more careful editing, the June dates would have been in proper journal order. 1999, Scholastic, $10.95. Ages 9 to 12.


My name is America


Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945 Juvenile fiction.
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945 Fiction.
World War, 1939-1945--United States Fiction.
Diaries Fiction.
LanguageCall NumberLCCNDewey DecimalISBN/ISSN
English (eng) PZ7.D4135 Jn 1999
98040956 [Fic]
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