Saturday, January 18, 2020

Graphic Novel Review of They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott & Illustrated by Harmony Becker

Read for: Borrowed Books/ Graphic Novel

Synopsis: "A graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei's childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon -- and America itself.

Long before George Takei braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father's -- and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future.

In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten "relocation centers," hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.

They Called Us Enemy is Takei's firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother's hard choices, his father's faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future."

My Review: I have been wanting to read this one for a while and was able to pick it up at my library. Takei and his family and thousands of others experience one of the truly ugly parts of US history, and even though I grew up only a couple hundred miles from one of the "centers" it wasn't covered in history classes at all. It was only upon my own personal research and reading that I found out about it. This was a great format in which to tell the story so many lived. The illustrations both showed the adventure from a child's eyes as well as the bleak outlook from the adult eyes. The story does a great job of conveying the experience of a child but with later knowledge as an adult. It is approachable for all ages and is an important story to read.

My Rating: This was so beautifully done, both the story and illustrations, and so important to read as well.  It is a part of our history that is too often glazed over.   I give it a rating of Four Paws!

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