Fred Korematsu Speaks Up

Laura Atkins
Stan Yogi

This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Fred Korematsu, a Japanese-American who fought against the U.S. internment orders issued during WWII, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  The story, written in spare poetic stanzas, shows how Fred and his normal California life are radically changed by racism against people of Japanese decent and Executive Order 9066.  It traces his path as he resists going to the internment camp and puts his name on a lawsuit to fight the internment (even though his fellow Japanese-Americans shunned him for the decision) -- a case which makes it all the way to the Supreme Court, and loses. The book then follows Korematsu through his time at the camp,  and after, as he builds a "normal" life for himself and his family.  And then, we see Fred take up the case again, helping in litigation that is refiled after lawyers uncover evidence that Executive Order 9066 was built on liees, and that the government lied to the Supreme Court in Fred's original case.  We see Fred take up the case again, and finally win. 

This book tells Fred Korematsu simply with prose that is clean and very easy to follow.  The text is more personal and emotional than historical.  But every other spread contains the historical background of the story, including photographs, timelines, and depictions of original documents, so that readers can learn more about the history of what's going on in the story.  It's a fascinating account of Japanese internment and also a beautiful story of a man who stood up for his rights.

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