What Does Peace Feel Like?

Can we learn about peace without considering its terrible opposite? Here is a list of books for children on the subject, from the Institute for Humane Education.

cvr9780689866760_9780689866760_lgVladimir Radunsky (whose Manneken Pis is one of my all-time favorite books) reflects on children’s perceptions in this thoughtful, serious collection.

Yet here is what’s going on in the world. Do we really know any more what peace feels like? Is there a day when somewhere in the world, innocents are not being killed in wars waged in the name of borders, territory, religion, ideology, or just plain greed?

Children did not make this mess.

They don’t deserve to inherit it.

 

The Story in Nonfiction Picture Books

How do you decide where the story resides in a nonfiction picture book? Where in the research? How much of a life? What’s in it for the kid reader? What’s your stance as a writer relative to the subject?

MeJanePatrick McDonnell‘s picture book, Me…Jane, shines the light on little Jane who loves to be outside, who hauls her pet chimpanzee, Jubilee, everywhere, who watches the world around her with careful, caring eyes. It’s a leisurely, close-up look at the child protagonist. And because it captures a kind of joyful attentiveness, it carries weight for that other child listening to the words, looking at the pages.

Pay attention to what Me…Jane doesn’t do. It doesn’t try to plunk everything one might know about this life into the small container of the picture book.

Instead the story builds internally, in the small and comfortable world that the child Jane inhabits.

No biographical milestones, no big story turns, no facts and dates and figures. Just an inexorable push forward. There will be only one turn of story, but it will be so big that it makes the entire point of the book. Jane goes to bed one night, dreaming, and presto! The page turn flies us forward in time, all the way into the realization of that dream.

MeJane2It’s all done with connections on and off the page. The little toy chimp, the Tarzan references, the way the images move from page to page. The story here is of a small, curious human in a large, glorious world. About great forward leaps in time and in thinking.

If you, like me, are a writer who tends to get tethered to her words, it’s helpful to look at how visual artists construct story. Me…Jane does plenty for young readers, but its structure is also a lesson in freedom for the wordbound. 

 

We All Contain Multitudes

A couple of months ago, walking on the beach on one of those rainy Pacific coast days when the sun seems to have left for good, I saw this surprising new addition to a familiar landscape:

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Someone’s story was here in stone, in mortar and pestle and candle-holders. I couldn’t tell what the story was, of course. Its plot points eluded me. Some things need words or actions or both. Still, I wondered what emotions those objects contained. Was this a story of remembrance? Of power? Sadness? Loss? Or celebration? A tribute to the ocean whose tides ebb and flow endlessly, only yards away from this cryptic stone face.

The mind gets restless when you give it bits and pieces of a puzzle. My mind added someone hauling this heavy artifact to the beach, lighting candles. Was there music? Talk? Community? Or was this a solitary journey? My mind added myself, there in imagination, watching and listening.

That’s what we do with our lives. We reflect upon the messy business of living, and we create, to a greater or lesser degree, the narrative of ourselves. Julie Beck, in a 2015 article in The Atlantic, writes:

In the realm of narrative psychology, a person’s life story is not a Wikipedia biography of the facts and events of a life, but rather the way a person integrates those facts and events internally—picks them apart and weaves them back together to make meaning.

Or leaves them on a beach for others to ponder over.

In fiction writing, we’re big on agency. Whose is this story? Who has power? Who gives momentum? Whom should I care about? I often ask my students these questions. When I revise, I chastise myself for having failed to ask them soon enough in the life of a work.

But the act of telling is both recall and rehearsal. As Monisha Pasupathi, a professor of developmental psychology quoted in Beck’s article puts it: 

…rehearsal strengthens connections between some pieces of information in your mind and diminishes connections between others. So the things I tell you become more accessible to me and more memorable to me.

I know that I often write to learn, to make connections, to create meaning. Beck’s article suggests this is not only a human characteristic but a necessity. It’s not enough to experience life in its many streams. We need to tell those stories. In their telling, we create ourselves.

Judgment and Sentencing

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Indian parks boast lovely examples of “Indlish” grammar so bad it’s an art form

Brought up to respect rules, tutored in the last century in the niceties of punctuation, I must, nonetheless, confess to harboring occasional mean thoughts about illiterates who scatter apostrophes like careless confetti. Mine is generally a peaceable mind, yet I have considered carrying a marker in my purse for the purpose of conducting surgical punctuation strikes.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m turning into the Grammar Police. Does it matter? In another decade, will anyone care about the difference between the abbreviated (“it’s”) and the possessive (“its”)? But then again, think about Joan Didion’s words in her long-ago article in The New York Times:

Many people know about camera angles now, but not so many know about sentences. The arrangement of the words matters, and the arrangement you want can be found in the picture in your mind. The picture dictates the arrangement.

She says lots of other things as well in that article, about cats and images that shimmer around the edges. Good, calming stuff that tells me to put those markers away, get off the judge’s bench, let other people’s apostrophes fall where they may, and get to work.

“In the sea, they will hold funerals”

In case we are tempted to think of the  1990s as a cultural wasteland defined by incongruous clashing motifs and Prozac Nation, let us remember that was the decade that launched National Poetry Month. On the steps of a post office in New York City, we are told, with a reading of T. S. Eliot’s (what else?) The Wasteland, which begins:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

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David Portrait 3Mixing memory and desire. Apt words to tap the yearning, unerring poetry of Misuzu Kaneko, best beloved Japanese children’s poet and a symbol if there ever was one of beauty emerging from sorrow. David Jacobson is the author of Are You an Echo? The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko, a picture book that not only speaks with honesty and grace about the poet’s life but also includes translations of some of her poetry. I asked David a few questions about his lovely book:

[Uma] Every book begins with a writer’s longing or a dream. What was your journey with this book?

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Sally Ito, translator

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Michiko Tsuboi, translator

[David] The dream came to me a year or so after I became acquainted with Misuzu’s poetry. Probing into her backstory, I learned of her tragic life, and was startled to discover that she was virtually unknown in North America.  I couldn’t believe she had been so overlooked, even by academics.  (I have subsequently been shocked to learn how few children’s authors from Japan get translated into English: only about 6 a year!)  I then made it my mission to spread the word about her through this book.  Fortunately, I was able to assemble a team of those who felt the same way: translators Sally Ito and Michiko Tsuboi and illustrator Toshikado Hajiri.

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Toshikado Hajiri, illustrator

We are all so thrilled that the book is starting to reach those who never heard of Misuzu before, especially those who don’t have a particular interest in Japan.

 

[Uma] The opening poem, Big Catch, is so brilliant and so startling in how it suddenly throws the reader off kilter, plunges us into empathy in spite of ourselves. And I loved how you framed this book so a child of the 20th century serves as witness to this older life. How did these layers of narrative come together for you?

[David] From the start, there were a lot of elements I wanted to include in this book:  Misuzu’s life story, the story of her rediscovery, the tsunami, and most of all, lots of examples of her poetry, in both English and Japanese.  Others tried to dissuade me from doing all this in a single book, but my publisher, Bruce Rutledge, supported me, partly because he and I felt that this might be our one and only chance to introduce Misuzu to the English-speaking world.  Given all those elements, we knew from the start that we would need to divide the book into a narrative section and a poetry section, and then within the narrative create a frame within which we could introduce Misuzu’s life story.  So the story laid itself out, and we just had to fill in the blanks.  Looking back at my first draft, I see that the structure was there from the beginning, but the specific text has changed dramatically.

[Uma] Tell me about the work you did with Sally Ito, the translator. 

[David] The work I did with Sally Ito and Michiko Tsuboi constituted the real core of putting the book together. We all stretched beyond our nominal roles in the project. Though ostensibly “translators,” Sally and Michiko made extensive textual and content-related edits to the narrative, which is why they got additional credit on the title page.  Though “author,” I edited their translations of the poetry and challenged their interpretations of the Japanese.  Over the course of about 4-5 months, we produced some 40 drafts of the narrative and multiple drafts of each poem (including a number that weren’t included in the book).  Michiko, who is Japanese born and bred, was a little shocked, I believe, by our occasional disagreements over wording.  But I think our close and sometimes confrontational collaboration, cemented by our mutual love for Misuzu’s poetry, made it a better book.

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[Uma] Thank you, David, for sharing some of the background to Are You An Echo? A literary life revealed for young readers, along with exquisite poetry, all in a lovingly crafted picture book container.

Trees, Forests, and Human Myopia

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A nursing log provides a home and nourishment to new seedlings, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada

I’ve been reading The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate (Discoveries From a Secret World) by Peter Wohlleben. It’s not always easy going. The subtitle is subtitled, which tells you something about the structure of the book. Its narrative, often dense and circular, nonetheless offers up some pretty startling ideas about the forest you might think you know.

There’s an incredible study cited in the book about the sounds of roots? Sounds? That is correct. In a study of grain seedlings (because it’s hard to listen in the forest) researchers registered a quiet crackle at about 220 hertz on their sound equipment. And when other seedlings were exposed to that crackle they turned their roots toward it. Has all this really been around us for centuries and we had no idea? It seems incredible, even while it rings true. We’re known for our short-sightedness, we humans.

Wohlleben is a forester. He writes of forests as whole societies, complete and evolving. Trees support one another. Some are bullies and others are loners. They have friends; they feel loneliness and pain. They communicate through networks of roots. It’s a compelling argument to rethink how we have been looking at nature for over a century, like a machine, as if its components can easily be removed and replaced.

theastreeReading this book made me go back and look at a picture book about a girl in a city bereft of trees. Thea’s Tree by Judith Clay, published by Indian publisher Karadi Tales, is a child-sized meditation on humans becoming separated from the natural world. If books could talk to one another in the manner of trees, this book would speak to my own Out of the Way! Out of the Way! and maybe as well to The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever by H. Joseph Hopkins, illustrated by Jill McElmurry.

There isn’t a children’s book as yet that encompasses the wider view of trees that Wohlleben urges upon us. There should be. His book makes me want to open my notebook and get to work. Kids will get the idea that a tree is only as strong as the forest surrounding it.

 

 

Poetry and Claiming Voice

IMG_1335.JPGIn Vermont this January, when author-illustrator Don Tate signed a copy of his beautiful picture book for me, he wrote, “Love words.” I always have. For many of us it was words and their power that drew us to the uncertain and often unpredictable vocation of a writer. And no form distills words better than poetry.

In times of crisis, poetry gives us a way to claim voice, assert ourselves, protest injustice; it enables us to “live in the along,” as Gwendolyn Brooks put it. It helps us maintain a kind of necessary conviction that we will, in the end, be right, even if that juster, kinder end seems deeply endangered at the moment.

Don talked to us in workshop about how he went about the work of creating this glorious picture book about poet George Moses Horton. What a story this is! Here’s an excerpt from the entry on Horton on the University of North Carolina’s web site, Documenting the American South:

By the time he was twenty, George Moses Horton had begun visiting the campus of The University of North Carolina….There he sold students acrostics on the names of their sweethearts at twenty-five, fifty, and seventy-five cents. For several decades he “bought his time” from his masters through the sale of his poems and through the wages collected as a campus laborer.

Horton loved words. That’s where it all began.

I was especially fascinated by how Don has integrated the poet’s experience of words into the design of his book.

img_1337Here is the preacher’s soaring rhetoric.

 

 

 

 

 

img_1339Here are the alphabets floating into the boy’s understanding, as he’s drawn irresistibly to the empowering skill of reading, a skill forbidden to his people.

There are lessons in this book that arise organically from its story and fall gently upon the mind. They arise from love and family and community, and from a boy’s deep, abiding desire to know the written word. A compelling story, brought to the page with a loving hand.

Thank you, Don Tate and Peachtree Publishers.

The Cumulative Story

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By Randholph Caldecott, engraved and printed by Edmund Evans-Library of Congress, Public Domain 

You know Jack, surely. And the house he built. A cat, a rat, a maid, a man, crowing fowl, they all figure in the bouncy rhythm of a nonsense tale that has been told and retold in many different versions. Lauren Thompson’s The Apple Pie That Papa Baked is a beautiful picture book version with a little twist at the end that pulls the child reader in.

What is it about this particular kind of chained narrative that is so engaging? It’s like a memory game in which each player adds an item and the further down the chain you go, the more you have to remember. The older I get, the more I value such things but I can also remember being thrilled by them as a child.

The plot of the cumulative story is spare. Jack builds a house. Papa bakes a pie. The charm lies in the repetition and in the growing of that list. I think the Aarne Thompson 2035 motif has staying power because it holds the potential to contain visual worlds. Of all the marvelous art in Lauren Thompson’s lovely book, this illustration by Jonathan Bean most perfectly captures that winding, widening structure:

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Cumulative chain stories allow us to cross languages and tap the energy even when we may not be able to understand the words. Listen to The Hunt by the amazing group Niyaz.

I don’t know a word of Dari, but it’s possible to absorb the rhythms and feel the stanzas growing with each additional animal on the list. Incredible.

Vaunda Micheaux Nelson on Fictionalizing Family History

One of the titles I discussed in my January VCFA lecture on historical fiction is a book I grew to know vicariously, to my great delight, as its writer navigated the many phases of its growth. No Crystal Stair is an acclaimed novel, a documentary novel, a story on the cusp between fiction and history, real and imagined.

I asked my dear writing colleague and friend Vaunda Micheaux Nelson to reflect on that process for me. Here is our exchange:

[Uma] Talk a little about the research you did –the sheer volume of it and over so much time!  And then about how this turned from nonfiction into the fictionalized blend of fact and imagination that it ended up becoming.

[Vaunda] The process extended over many years and continues, not only formal research but family history.  In brief, I acquired source material from the Schomburg Center in Harlem, Howard University, the Hatch-Billops Collection, newspaper and magazine articles, audio tapes, transcripts, court records, church documents, FBI files, census records, death certificates and other vital statistic sources, and oral histories – interviews with family members and individuals who visited the store and/or knew Lewis.  I traveled to New York City, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, and Newport News, Virginia. When faced with contradictory information, I weighed what I could, and drew reasonable conclusions.

It began as a family history project.  I simply wanted to learn about my uncle and his bookstore and record what I found.  The more I discovered about Lewis’s life and contributions, the more I needed to share his story.  As a writer, I love exploring character.  And what a character Lewis was!  I enjoyed getting to know him through research, trying to figure him out.  Lewis’s life is important historically, but it’s also just a great story.

I write for children, so it was natural for me to want to share Lewis’s story with them, though I believed it would speak to adults as well.  Youth is a time that is heavy with searching, tripping, falling, getting back up, slipping, finding ground, flailing, and finally flying.  Lewis’s journey embodied this, so I suspected it would appeal to teens.  And, as a bibliophile, I was thrilled to share the story of a man who used books as a compass in his search for self.

It started as straight biography.  In my early drafts I used quotes by Lewis as chapter headings and envisioned photos as part of the final work.  But at some point in the process, and after feedback from people I respect, I realized that it wasn’t working.  I didn’t feel I’d told Lewis’s story in a way that would move readers to care about this amazing man and understand the significance of what he achieved. Those early attempts lacked the heart I hope I conveyed in the final book.  Also, there were holes and discrepancies in the information about Lewis’s life that I could not resolve.  Sources were contradictory, unclear, unreliable, and the people who might have been able to clarify or fill in the gaps were already in their graves.

I began telling the story of Lewis Michaux through the voices of those who surrounded him — family, friends, associates, and bookstore customers.  Recordings and interviews with Lewis enabled me to replicate his voice.  My husband, Drew, began calling the book “Documentary Fiction,” which seemed a good fit.  I included as much factual information as I could, while filling in the gaps with informed speculation (my best guess) about what might have happened to, or been said about, Lewis.

The new format gave me options and flexibility and allowed me to explore Lewis in a deeper way, to help readers see Lewis’s spirit, his intelligence, his charm, as well as his weaknesses.  I came to know the people around him more intimately.   One of the things I admire about Marilyn Nelson’s Carver: A Life in Poems is that she informs readers about George Washington Carver’s brilliance and accomplishments, while capturing the essence of the man, the nature of his spirit and how he touched the lives of others. This was my intent with No Crystal Stair. Sometimes you have to do an awful lot of writing to figure out exactly what it is you have to say.  The project may have taken 15 years, but as I think back on the process, I realize it needed those years.  I  needed those years to become a better writer.  And I made exciting discoveries along the way that led me in unexpected and rewarding directions.

The excitement of acquiring audio tapes and transcripts of interviews with Lewis fueled my energy for the work.  Reading his words and hearing his voice were invaluable to understanding and developing his character.  Also, there’s a short, online clip of his brother, Lightfoot, preaching that is priceless.

Considering the controversial rallies Lewis held outside the store and his close relationship with Malcolm X, I suspected the FBI had files on my uncle.  Receiving a fat packet of FBI files after nine months of waiting was a thrill, and again gave me a happy boost at a time of frustration.

[Uma] Assuming that every book teaches a writer something, what did this book teach you?

[Vaunda] After beginning the new format, I was finding great pleasure in the project. but one day I asked myself — what is this exactly?   Teen biography?  No, I had already crossed the line into invention, and invention spells fiction.  But was it teen fiction?  By page 14, Lewis is an adult.  Where was the teenage protagonist?   Even if I found an editor who liked it, could it pass muster in an acquisitions meeting?  What publisher would buy this book?

I decided it didn’t matter.  I needed to continue the project for my family for myself.  There was much support coming from that direction — including from Lewis himself.  His spirit was there — prodding.  So I forged ahead not caring whether it would find a publishing audience.  I forged ahead because a bit of Lewis’s independent spirit had rubbed off.  In the past, I fancied myself as someone who had the strength to deviate from the norm.  I was, but I had limits.  I still do, but NO CRYSTAL STAIR confirmed the truth of that cliched advice that many give but don’t really believe – “Follow your heart.”  Or as Lewis put it, “Never lose your individuality.”

The project also gave me some things to think about with regard to the complexity of character, both in fiction and real life.   Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey are often skimmed over or neglected by black history programs in schools.  Their ideas and philosophies about the fight for equality were out of the mainstream and, threatening for some.  Malcolm and Garvey were seen as radical, explosive, enigmatic personalities.  Most of the adults in my childhood saw Garvey’s Back-to-Africa movement as extreme.  Malcolm X was intimidating.   But there is much to learn from Garvey’s commitment to blacks building their own businesses, creating their own communities, becoming self-sufficient, and uniting globally.  Malcolm’s struggle for human rights “by any means necessary,” his personal evolution, his compelling speeches, and (like Lewis Michaux) his belief in education are powerful, significant, and worthy of study.  Learning about figures like Lewis, Malcolm and Garvey expanded my thinking.  Without alternative perspectives, we are in danger of believing there is only one right way of seeing and being.  It becomes too easy to fall into lock step rather than discover who we really are.

Finally this book taught me the importance of researching family history while the elders are still alive.  I am left with so many questions that Lewis, my parents and grandparents might have been able to answer.  As Lewis always said you can’t really know yourself unless you know your history and those who came before – the shoulders on which you stand.  With this project, I’ve become an advocate for recording family history, and I encourage the children I encounter uncover for the stories in their own backyards.

 [Uma] What were some obstacles you encountered?

[Vaunda] Many times I felt I was spinning my wheels, getting nowhere, looking for a needle in the wrong haystack.  I had to learn persistence, which sometimes payed off.   But sometimes, I hit a brick wall and had to accept the fact that I may never find resolution.

Lewis sometimes embellished the facts in one venue and then forgot, or didn’t care, that he’d done so — his true age, how long the bookstore actually existed.  These kinds of inconsistencies were frustrating when I was attempting to research and write straight biography.  I wanted to get the facts right.  But once I shifted to documentary fiction and allowed myself the freedom to speculate and imagine, the sense of mystery added intrigue and led me to wonder.  This wondering, I believe, brought me to truths that I might not have discovered otherwise.  However, as someone trying to uncover family history, I wish I had more answers.  My search isn’t over.

[Uma] Revision wasn’t a simple linear process for this book.  Will you talk about the work you did in revising, revisiting the same material over and over again?  How did revision make the book grow?  Change?  Deepen?  How did it surprise you?

 [Vaunda] The shift to the new format was a major but fascinating process.  Creating the voices was challenging, but some of the best writing fun I’ve ever had.  For example, the factual information regarding the incident where Lewis loses his eye went from a paragraph in the straight biography to three voices — Lewis, his brother Norris, and a police officer.  This change enabled me to convey emotion and show aspects of Lewis and Norris unseen in the original.

One of my main revision challenges was organizing the story, deciding who would speak when, and the content of what they might say to move the story forward gave me many hours of brain pain.  At one point in the process, I took the manuscript to the library when it was closed, laid it out on tables page by page, and started shifting — place this before that, that before this — no, no, that before this — or did it work better the other way around?  Initially, I placed a few chapters out of sequence.  Ultimately I decided to work chronologically to avoid disrupting the flow and momentum of the story.

Also, Malcolm is such a powerful and fascinating figure, he could easily have taken over the story.  My editor Andrew Karre and I worked together to keep him in perspective, to include only Malcolm X materials which were relevant to Lewis’s story.  Although there is much I would like young readers to know about Malcolm, I had to keep focus on Lewis’s story.   His brother Lightfoot also is a powerful character whose story could have overshadowed Lewis’s if I’d handled it differently.   I had to keep reminding myself to stay with Lewis.

[Uma] What did Lewis say that you’d want to say to readers?

[Vaunda] Lewis was promoting education, but not just as a means to job success.  He believed in the richness that knowledge can bring to everyday life.  “You have to know something to protect yourself,”  he said.  “Knowledge is power.  You need it every hour. Read a book!”

[Uma] And what do you want to say to writers who wish to write for young people?

[Vaunda] As writers we should never underestimate what kids can handle.  They’re smart and beg to be challenged.  Sometimes we make the mistake of believing young readers can’t deal with subtlety.  But that which is left unsaid is often what gets them thinking beyond the text.  The reading process becomes an interactive one, a give and take, a private affair that adds to a repository of experience they can draw from as they negotiate life.

[Uma] So there you go. Write to stretch the minds of your readers. Thank you, Vaun!

 

Stan Yogi and Laura Atkins on Fred Korematsu Speaks Up

628dd2bfb56cd1d0122408860ee65943Since it was published in January, in a modest print run of 3,000 copies, Fred Korematsu Speaks Up has sold out and gone into reprint. Which is as it should be. I asked Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi to tell me what drew each of them to Fred’s story, tragically relevant as it is to our own times.

Stan: Fred Korematsu is one of my heroes. As a young man, Fred defied the government’s World War II orders forcing 120,000 Japanese Americans (including my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles) from the west coast into concentration camps only because they looked like the enemy. Fred’s family and community did not support his actions. It took tremendous courage for him to stand up for his rights as an American citizen. 

His story is all the more important now with threats to Muslims, immigrants, refugees, communities of color, women and LGBT people. Kids need to know that we can organize and fight against injustice, just like Fred.

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Jana, Mona, and Batool from Fred Korematsu Elementary School in Davis, CA. Young people. Our last best hope. Photo courtesy of Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi.

Laura: I was over the moon when Molly Woodward, the editor at Heyday, asked me to get involved in the book. I was brought on to add my children’s book experience.

I grew up in an activist family and became an activist myself, arrested twice in high school at protests, and working as at Children’s Book Press and as an editor at Lee & Low Books, with a focus on diversity and equity in children’s books. I love that this series highlights people who have fought for their rights, showing the power of individuals, and collective action, to make a difference. 

This couldn’t be more timely. We’ve now presented to over 1,200 kids, with over 1,000 more in the coming few weeks. It’s been inspiring to share Fred’s story with them, but also to talk about standing up and activism more generally. At a school presentation in Davis last week, three girls told us how they raised money at the school after their mosque was vandalized. They were proud to share their efforts, and clearly supported by their teacher and community. It’s an honor to be connected to kids in this way, and I hope that our book helps to inspire more to know that they can also speak up.

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Stan and Laura with Karen Korematsu

One additional note: Karen Korematsu, Fred’s daughter, founder of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute, wrote an op-ed that was published in the New York Times. It’s about her father’s life and legacy and the relevance of that narrative to here and now.

Excerpt:

When President Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning travel from seven majority Muslim countries, he hurled us back to one of the darkest and most shameful chapters of American history. Executive orders that go after specific groups under the guise of protecting the American people are not only unconstitutional, but morally wrong. My father, and so many other Americans of Japanese descent, were targets of just such an order during World War II.

United States policies already seem to be tilting toward inhumanity, intolerance, xenophobia. Here is a history that deserves to be remembered, if we are to keep from repeating it. Stan and Laura have done a remarkable job in bringing Fred’s story to young readers.