By the way, my mom is a fifth grade teacher and she recomends dear americas to her class! Anonymous More than 1 year ago I love the book. Loved the read. O :-D. Anonymous More than 1 year ago I have been wondering about pearl harbor and this gave me enough to understand. Anonymous More than 1 year ago Best book in the world!! I got sucked into the book and i never wanted to put the book down! This amazing book fortunatly doesnt have a boring beginning!!!!! The first diary was by a Japanese-American boy sent to the camps. This one is from the point of view of a girl whose father is pastor of a Japanese-American church.
Father and daughter follow when his congregation is moved to a camp shortly after Pearl Harbor is attacked Dec 7, She is not a detainee but sees the life they are living as a friend and witness. Very good.
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SusieBookworm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago I wasn't sure what to expect from Scholastic's first addition to the Dear America series in years, but Larson didn't let me down. Coming back to my favorite elementary school series as a high schooler, I still found The Fences Between Us to be interesting and a good read. Larson managed to incorporate great historical information into the story quite smoothly, and she offered a unique perspective on WWII. Piper Davis, the "author" of the diary, faces a rare dilemma during the early days of America's involvement in the war: her older brother is at Pearl Harbor, while her family lives in a Japanese neighborhood her father's a Baptist minister and eventually follows the Japanese to the internment camps.
Piper is in the interesting situtation of having half of her friends support the incarceration of the Japanese while the other half are being forcibly "relocated"; Piper isn't always sure which side is right, but she discovers by the end!
All in all, an educational and entertaining read. KLmesoftly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago I loved the Dear America historical journal series growing up and had been looking forward to this one as a quick, light trip down Memory Lane - my expectations were fairly low, as I don't tend to gravitate towards the YA genre or the contrived pseudo-diary format or late additions to an established collection.
That said, I really enjoyed this. Set in the s, late in World War II and following Pearl Harbor, the book follows a middle school-aged girl as she corresponds with her Naval officer brother and moves with her father, a pastor, as he follows his Japanese congregation to their internment camp in Idaho. The historical details are interspersed with slice-of-life subplots like Piper's crush on a classmate and developing interest in photography, and the book manages to be fun and age-appropriate while bringing home the injustice of Japanese Internment and providing takeaway themes and a message that can easily be applied to contemporary conflicts.
I would definitely recommend this to a young reader.
It's well-written and aesthetically beautiful, with its purple-colored hardback format and foil cover detailing - a great addition to one's collection. I so enjoyed Hattie Big Sky. I am a homeschool Mom and when this type of book comes to me I can only think "oh my what a great addition to a unit study". I am continually surprised by how little I learned about our nations past, in the public school system. I too only learned of internment camps within the last few years. This is a great book to show the personal side of how Japanese people were treated during the war.
I also so enjoyed the facts in the back of the book.
Thank-you for including the presidents speech. I would like to believe this could never happen again, and yet I know it could. Thank-you Kirby for another great book! They went out of print a few years ago, and it's been hard to get the few titles I didn't already own. Scholastic has done me a favor, and brought the series back! They've already reprinted a handful of titles, and plan to do more. They also are brining in new stories.
Seattle, Washington Piper's story is one I strongly relate to. It's based on the story of Reverend Emery Andrews, who moved whis family to Idaho, when his Japanese Baptist Church congregation was moved to an internment camp in Minidoka, Idaho. Kirby Larson gives us a teenage girl's reaction to the move, and how her friends respond to her family supporting the Japanese community following Pearl Harbor. Piper upsets her friends by supporting her Japanese churchmates, and yet remains silent when she watches her Japanese friends get harassed at school. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the book growing up, or anyone looking for a gift for a child starting chapter books.
When I heard that they were re-launching the series after 6 years, I was excited.
The Fences Between Us is the first new book for the series. To be honest, I was very disappointed in this book.
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The subject is purportedly Japanese internment, but we instead get a diary of a white girl and her experiences during WWII. The book is interesting enough and well-written author Kirby Larson won a Newbery Honor award for her children's novel Hattie Big Sky but I was expecting to read a book about the experiences of a Japanese-American girl. The Dear America series has always been very culturally and ethnically inclusive, so I was puzzled that the book on Japanese Internment would be from a white girl's perspective. Because of this, I can't rate this book very highly. I'd suggest either picking up a different book in the series or, if you're interested in Japanese internment, read something like Farewell to Manzanar instead.
I wish these Dear America books had been around when I was a little girl. It's like an improvement on the American Girls Collection books. It has the same basic plot format as they do - a slice of life story about a girl living at a certain key point in history - in this case, World War II. It also presents historical non-fiction information about the time period after the story, just like American Girl. But, it includes an epilogue, letting you know what 'happened' to the character when she grew up, and an activity - in this instance, a recipe for oatmeal cookies that she baked during the story.
Young me would have loved this. My daughter, at almost 8, may not be quite old enough.
The Fences Between Us: The Diary of Piper Davis, Seattle, Washington, 1941 (Dear America Series)
She was initially thrilled by it, and then appeared to lose interest - though that could just be because she's reading four books at once. It told the story of Japanese internment during World War II, as seen through the eyes of the daughter of a white pastor with a Japanese congregation. It was appalling. I can't believe we did this to our own citizens. And yet, I look at some of the things going on today, and our attitude towards, say, Middle Easterners, and I CAN believe it, unfortunately. Growing up, I always believed the message school had sent - that one of the reasons America came to exist was to save people from just such persecution - that we were free, and tolerant, and would never judge anyone by the color of their skin, or their religion, nationality, or anything other than their own demonstrated behavior.
The older I get, the more it seems like our country is no better than many other countries in that department. It seems like most countries just have good times where they are very tolerant, and bad times, where they are very closed-minded. Perhaps I'm letting go of the idea that individual actions make a difference on that continuum, except at a very local level.
I guess philosophically, I wonder whether presenting information like this to kids makes them disheartened too young. And on the other hand, I think it's a story that people have a right to tell, and a responsibility to be familiar with. Since the main topic is the Japanese-American Internment during WW2, it seemed strange to me that the author would choose to make the main character a white girl, rather than a Japanese-American girl.
Having read the book, I feel that while using the point-of-view of a Japanese-American girl would have been ideal, the book is only incidentally about the Internment, and using Piper Davis as the point-of-view character allows the story to focus on many other aspects of being a teenager as well.
In other words, the Japanese-American Internment is important to the story, but it's not the only thing that causes the plot the move, which would be too easy a trap otherwise. The first half of the book takes place in Seattle, Washington and has Piper dealing with her brother enlisting in the navy shortly before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the after-effects of that day and what it means for her family. She must come to terms with the fact that many of her friends and her father's church congregation!
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Piper is also caught up in her first love and that with having a somewhat strict Baptist preacher for a father! The second half of the book takes place in and near Minidoka Relocation Camp in Idaho. The tone changes a bit, but the main elements of the story primarily: Piper growing up and learning about life are still there. I rather appreciated that the diary entries are somewhat shorter and occur less often in this half, in keeping with the amount of time Piper has to write, and the number of new things to write about. I really think that the discussion of racism is fairly well-done in the book.
Piper has friends who are Japanese-American, yet she resents them because she resents the Japanese. She very clearly struggles with the two emotions love and hate , and I think it's something that people can relate to, particularly with the current wars in the Middle East and the treatment of Muslim Americans though, of course, that doesn't nearly reach the level of the internment that Japanese-Americans suffered in WW2. Also, to risk spoiling, I really liked the interpersonal relationships that Piper has, particularly with boys.
Unlike many fluffy YA books I have read, none of the boys are her "true love" and I just thought that the treatment of these relationships was fairly realistic and well-done. Likewise with the waxing and waning of her friendships with other girls. Ultimately, I only had two real problems with the book, and both are problems with me as a reader.
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Other than the white point-of-view character, it took me a bit to be able to suspend my disbelief with regards to the narrative style. The way Piper writes her diary entries seemed awfully unrealistic and too detailed for a thirteen-year-old, but that is a convention of the narrative style, and I found that I didn't mind it at all by the time the story ended.
The inclusion of photographs and FDR's speech after the bombing of Pearl Harbor at the end of the book were rather nice inclusions.