Obāchan told me Gaman

A Child’s View of Topaz

Written by Samantha Matsukawa, Illustrated by Aaron Asano Swenson

Written and Illustrated by fourth generation Japanese Americans, this book explores the World War II Topaz Internment Camp in the Utah desert. It is a fictional story based on real historical events of a Japanese American family incarcerated by the government after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It contains photographs, still lifes, and political cartoons, as well as computer generated illustrations. Obachan (Grandmother) encourages the family to practice “Gaman.” “We must accept what is with dignity. We must find ways to endure this seemingly unbearable circumstance together and persevere.” The book provides historical background and real-life situations that foster a positive mindset, encourage unity, and trying to make positive change in today’s world. There is a Terminology and Pronunciation Guide, Clarification for the definition of Concentration Camps Vs. Relocation or Internment Camps and Additional Resources available in the back of the book. This book would be best understood by Upper Elementary and Middle School students.

Reviewed by Tammy Atwood, Librarian, Lake Ridge Elementary
Review shared in February 2023
Rating: ★★★✩✩ (3 stars)
Interest Level: 5th Grade and Up

Obāchan told me Gaman
Written by Samantha Matsukawa, Illustrated by Aaron Asano Swenson
Plan-B Theatre
Release Date: 2022
ISBN: 9798218090081
This book was sent to Utah elementary schools by Plan-B Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, UT.

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