Readers, my new book, Enemy Child: The Story of Norman Mineta, a Boy Imprisoned in a Japanese American Internment Camp During World War II, published by Holiday House, has made its debut into the world and is now available at your favorite bookstore and online.
Enemy Child tells the dramatic true story of a shameful event in America’s past.
Norm was ten when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941 and life instantly changed for all Japanese Americans along the West Coast. Because they looked like the enemy and because of unwarranted fear that they might try to assist Japan in an invasion of America, the government arrested their leaders, forced all Japanese Americans to register, and imposed harsh restrictions upon their freedom.
Norm, a Cub Scout who loved his country, was bewildered by all this. His classmates shunned him. He feared for the safety of his Japanese-born parents, who, because of anti-Asian laws, had never been allowed to become American citizens and were therefore outside the protection of the Constitution.
But as it turned out, so was Norm, even though he was a citizen because he was born in America. He, his family, and 120,000 other West Coast Japanese Americans were soon rounded up and forced into primitive camps in isolated locations. The Mineta family was sent to Heart Mountain, Wyoming, where they lived in one room in a tar paper-covered barracks, without running water or privacy. They endured extreme weather conditions, dust storms, and poor food. Worst of all, they were prisoners behind barbed wire.
Norm never forgot this experience. He later entered politics and served ten terms in Congress and was appointed to two presidential cabinets. Among his many achievements was helping to get legislation passed requiring the government to formally apologize to the Japanese American community for one of this country’s most egregious civil rights violations.
Enemy Child has a hundred photos, maps, and illustrations to help tell Norm’s story and that of all Japanese Americans. When you step into Norm’s shoes and take this journey with him, I hope you will learn what it is like to have your own government declare you an enemy, take away your rights, force you from your home, and imprison you—an experience far too many people in countries around the world are enduring at this very moment.
★★★ A Junior Library Guild Selection ★★★
FROM THE REVIEWERS:
★ An inspiring story of character and endurance despite hardships. Important, well-told, and an excellent choice for social studies classes, literature circles, and libraries. Extensive back matter enriches understanding of this historical narrative. —School Library Journal, starred review
★ With so many individual stories, only one absolute emerges from this historical period: a large segment of our population, whether U.S. citizens for first-generation Japanese people deprived of citizenship, were denied their constitutional and civil rights. Warren leaves much to ponder about our nation’s past and present, about ‘this beautiful tapestry that is America.’ —The Horn Book, starred review
With great sensitivity, Warren traces the experiences of former congressman Norman Mineta, whose family was forcibly relocated in 1942 during the WWII-era internment of Japanese-Americans. Interweaving historical background, various accounts, and Mineta’s first-person recollections, Warren skillfully illuminates what it felt like to be targeted and imprisoned. There are still too few books for youth about U.S. Japanese-American internment, and this affecting volume offers an essential view. —Publishers Weekly
Warren’s biography adroitly covers Mineta’s subsequent education and distinguished career. Extremely well researched and boasting Mineta’s cooperation, the book is generously illustrated with period black-and-white photos. It’s a fascinating record of an eventful and significant life. —Booklist
Warren bases her narrative on interviews, as well as other primary and secondary resources, and although readers who have read other work on the internments camps will find much that is familiar, the Mineta family story offers particulars that do not emerge with such clarity in other accounts.—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Warren is brilliant in interweaving history with its impact on one boy. Enemy Child is an initiation into a dark period of American History. As a book for young adults, Warren assumes little or no prior knowledge of these events from the reader. Thus, as the story of Norman Mineta unfolds, so does its historical background. It is a powerful, poignant page-turning narrative of an American boy who was treated as a prisoner and reviled as an enemy because of his ancestry. But it is also a story of patriotism, honor, dignity and resilience from a family of immigrants who never, for one second, was disloyal to our country. VickiCobbsBlog.com
Hopeful, yet also a reminder that policies our government develops to “protect us” can also be shameful and grossly unfair. An important book and a great read, from a masterful historical storyteller. —Amazon Review by Pat McNees, author and journalist
Absolutely one of the most important stories for all Americans to know. A truly special book. —Steve Sheinkin, author of Bomb.
Articles and Interviews with Andrea Warren on the publication of “Enemy Child”:
Publishers Weekly link:
The Shawnee Mission Post link:
Join Cyrus Webb on Conversations Live to hear a short interview with Andrea Warren discussing “EnemyChild”: