Children of Manzanar

“[An] extraordinary collection of photographs and personal recollections”
School Library Journal (*Starred review*)

Winner of the 2013 Association of Partners for Public Lands Excellence Award (Top Honors)

Eleven tumultuous weeks after Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, an act that authorized the U.S. Army to undertake the rapid removal of more than one hundred thousand Japanese and Japanese Americans from the West Coast. With only a few weeks (and sometimes only a few days) notice, families were forced to abandon their homes and, under military escort, be removed to remote and hastily erected compounds, such as Manzanar War Relocation Center in the California desert. Children of Manzanar captures the experiences of the nearly four thousand children and young adults held at Manzanar during World War II. Quotes from these children, most now in their eighties and nineties, are accompanied by photographs from both official and unofficial photographers, including Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and Toyo Miyatake, himself an internee who for months secretly documented daily life inside the camp, and then openly for the remaining years Manzanar operated.

These photos and remembrances—most of them archival treasures from Manzanar National Historic Site, and many appearing here in print for the first time—vividly record a barren world of guard towers, barbed wire fences, and tarpapered barracks, while also capturing the remarkable resilience of children, shown skipping rope, doing homework, and growing up. You will see fear and anxiety when you look into their eyes, but you will also see that indelible spark of joyous abandon unique to childhood.

The year 2012 marks the seventieth anniversary of Executive Order 9066, and Children of Manzanar serves as a very personal view of this bleak chapter in American history, when Japanese bloodlines overshadowed American birthrights. It is a moving account of the battle between oppression and the strength of the human spirit.

Copublished with the Manzanar History Association

Reviews

“Thanks to the talent of photographers Toyo Miyatake, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and others, these images convey—more than words ever could—the absurd supposition that children were also the "enemy" simply because of their race. Seventy years later, I am still affected upon viewing photos of my family  and childhood friends as we attempted to create a community within confines of barbed wire.”

—Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, former internee at Manzanar, and coauthor of Farewell to Manzanar

 

“Combining photographs culled from official government archives and personal collections with quotes from Manzanar’s children—most of them now in their 80s and 90s!—Children is richly dense with little known history in a single, slim volume.”

—Terry Hong, BookDragon, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program

 

“Heartwarming as well as heartbreaking, this rich selection of photographs—many published for the first time—illuminates everyday life at Manzanar.”

—Katherine Ware, Curator of Photography, New Mexico Museum of Art

 

"For the children of Manzanar, the tarpapered barracks were home. Their resilience during the World War II period speaks profoundly to the power of youth, family, and community. Children of Manzanar is an important record of the lives of these young Americans—their farewells, adjustment, and sometimes even joy in a land of dust."

—Naomi Hirahara, author of Summer of the Big Bachi and Snakeskin Shamisen

 

Children of Manzanar has captured the true life of the children. It has brought back many memories of good times as well as sad times.”

—Saburo Sasaki, former internee at Manzanar

 

“Far more than a mere memory book, Children of Manzanar presents readers with an exquisite blending of fresh images, original stories, and a stellar array of text panels that will deliver them to the very marrow of Manzanar's diverse meanings for its unjustly confined population of young people.”

—Arthur A. Hansen, Professor Emeritus of History and Asian American Studies, California State University, Fullerton

 

Children of Manzanar belongs in every library if one wishes to gain knowledge of the effect imprisonment had on thousands of Japanese American children.  The reader should be prepared, when finished, to ask ‘WHY?!’”

—Dennis Tojo Bambauer, former internee at Manzanar

 

“I’ve read a lot of books on Manzanar, but this one opened my eyes to a whole different world. Children of Manzanar is a powerful and moving book.”

—Alan Miyatake, grandson of photographer and former internee Toyo Miyatake

About the Editor

Heather C. Lindquist grew up in the Pacific Northwest not far from the Bellevue blueberry fields that Japanese American families had to abandon when they were removed from the West Coast during World War II. After graduating from Stanford University with a degree in American Studies, Lindquist discovered a love of exhibit planning and writing while serving as an intern at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. Later applying this experience to developing interpretive exhibits for Manzanar National Historic Site and other National Park Service venues, Heather Lindquist collaborates with her husband, Mark Lindquist, in their media production and exhibit planning company, Harvest Moon Studio. She is a contributing author to Freedom in My Heart, edited by Cynthia Jacobs Carter and published by the U.S. National Slavery Museum in association with National Geographic. Lindquist lives in Los Angeles.