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Take What You Can Carry
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Take What You Can Carry

3.12 of 5 stars 3.12  ·  rating details  ·  259 ratings  ·  69 reviews

In 1977 suburban Chicago, Kyle runs wild with his friends and learns to shoplift from the local convenience store. In 1941 Berkeley, the Himitsu family is forced to leave their home for a Japanese-American internment camp, and their teenage son must decide how to deal with his new life. But though these boys are growing up in wildly different places and times, their lives
176 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Square Fish
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Community Reviews

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”It’s weird with some stuff. Or moments, really. Even though they are entirely under your control…they somehow aren’t. It feels like once you start…there’s only one way things can go. Even if it’s the wrong way.”

Take What You Can Carry is a stunning work of art connecting two lives through time and history. A reading experience with emotional and visual power.

The action and timeline flashes back in forth between 1942 in a Japanese-American internment camp in California and a 1978 Chicago suburb.
The modern day story with the white boy was pointless. How can any storyteller ever draw a comparison between someone stealing to survive versus someone stealing for kicks and giggles? The false equivalency here is astounding and even a little bit insulting to the audience. I get the point the author was trying to make, but it came off as yet another story where the little white kid learns a valuable lesson from the wise old Japanese man. Barf.

Would have been a MUCH better book if it was all abo
I'm a sucker for graphic novels. When I learned that TAKE WHAT YOU CAN CARRY was a graphic novel about the historic Japanese internment, I immediately purchased it. I thought of how I could pair it with FAREWELL TO MANZANAR or use it as an introduction to such an unfathomable period of American history.

The novel focuses on two strands, as suggested by the cover: (1) the life of a Japanese family forced to move into the Manzanar camp as depicted in brown illustrations and NO
I feel uncomfortable with the author's ease at drawing parallels between Japanese Internment in the 1940s and a punk-ass kid who shoplifts in 1978. Not comparable. (Also, a very good reason I don't work with middle & high schoolers. I don't have the patience.) And I don't really understand why the author chose the segments set in the 1940s featuring Japanese-Americans to be wordless. Japanese people can speak.
This book had an interesting format in which it juxtapose a person's life story and childhood to another persons present life in his childhood. The book periodically switched back and forth between the persons life. It showed how adequately fun the modern child's life was compared to the other child's (on the left of the cover) life was. It showed me how much we take for granted, while people around us struggle to survive every day. It may be an easy and quick read, but it is filled with differe ...more
Ok, I don't know if this is a spoiler, so I'm putting things behind curtains... I think this book is about (view spoiler).

It tells the stories of two teenage boys - one of Japanese descent living in WWII California, one of apparently Caucasian descent living in an anonymous suburb. (view spoiler)
Ashley D--
I'm waffling between 2 and 3 stars for this one. I thought it was just okay, but I liked its ambition and its subject matter a lot, so I'm giving it 3.

I like the tenuous connection between the two characters. There is very little that is similar between them, but being a teen who committed random acts of destruction for no apparent reason helped me identify with Kyle and see how he might feel similarly desperate and anti-authoritarian as Ken, despite his extremely more privileged situation. They
Emilia P
Eh. Drawn in an interestingly nice, shaky Mike Judge-y style, with a similar tone/setting, though less lush and humorous. Character development is less than complete -- "oh, I'm a kid that steals stuff... cuz I just get bored," but the wordlessness of the Japanese internment camp story was actually pretty effective -- the smallness of one kid in a big world, and the importance too, communicated through people bustling and scrambling through crowded and empty spots alike. In the end though, and p ...more
I guess you could call this a quick read, since half of the book, the historic Japanese-American perspective, is told without words. So there really isn't much to read in here. I was excited to read this when I saw it at the library, because I don't know enough about this very shameful part of American history. But I found the juxtaposition of 1940s wordless Japanese-American suffering with 1970s bratty white teen story jarring. I wasn't crazy about the art either--what was depicted historically ...more
This is a pretty fast read since it is not heavy on the text. It basically tells two parallel tales: the first being the Japanese internment camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the second of a boy who stole thing from a shop due to boredom. The internment side of the story is pretty powerful for the lack of words depicted. I thought it was pretty interesting because you could see parallels in both tales.

Disclaimer: I won this in a Goodreads Firstreads giveaway.
Laura Beebz
The premise was great, the landscapes were beautiful, and it was interesting to see when the author would choose to let the silent images speak for themselves.
There were times when the art wasn't clear enough to understand what the characters' motivations were, unless they were allowed to explain it. People were not as clear and iconic as landscapes, and this led to a few confusing panels. Maybe I had my hopes too high for this piece, but I feel the connection between the two stories could have
I don't like being critical in reviews. There was much to admire here. But some of the flaws made them harder to see. I wish the history on the back of the book had been offered first, Without the words in the WWII portion of the book, I had a hard time really understanding what the author/artist was trying to convey until the end of the book. I am not sure younger readers, and apparently many adults, are going to make the connection between the modern story and the WWII story. It is thought-pro ...more
Kari Ramirez
It was the title this time and not the cover itself that caught my eye. Reminiscent of Only What We Could Carry (a book everyone should read) my hand went to pick it up without even really thinking about it. As I suspected it did deal with the internment of Japanese Americans, but with a bit of a twist.

The book flips back and forth from a 1978 Chicago suburb and 1941-1944 California. In 1978 we follow Kyle in bright white & blues. In the 40's Ken is awash in dark browns and silence. There ar
"Take What You Can Carry" is a graphic novel that explores connections between generations and across races. In 1941 Berkely, the Himitsu family is forced to leave their home for a Japanese-American internment camp, taking only what they can carry. The Himitsu's teenaged son must deal with displacement, the loss of rights, and camp life, where he learns to steal. In 1977 suburban Chicago, Kyle is the new kid in the neighborhood. Displaced and bored, Kyle runs wild. Egged on by his new "friends," ...more
It was OK, but nothing special. First, I felt the segments in the internment camp were confusing; I couldn't follow the story line of any one person or family. Second, the connection between the two plots was a bit too obvious. Also, it didn't make any sense for the boy in the blue section to start getting into trouble after moving. His new "friends" weren't a bad influence on him, rather it was the other way around. So, overall, this graphic novel didn't stand out for me.
Anastasia Tuckness
This book was amazing. It weaves together 2 stories: 1 of a Japanese boy/teen who is forced into an internment camp during WWII, and 1 of a modern day teen who ends up working for the Japanese man.

I don't remember all the details, but the graphic aspect creates a powerful depiction of what Japanese Americans faced during WWII. There is no romanticizing here.

Showing the man trying to make a living in a modern-day setting brings it home even more--these were real people that the government (our g
Diane Ferbrache
This graphic novel tells the story of two boys living in two different eras. The stories are illustrated in different colors – blue for 1978 Chicago and brown for the 1940s California. Three boys have been arrested and held for a crime spree that gradually escalates to their arrest for shoplifting from a small grocery store. In the 1940s storyline we see the story of a Japanese family being forced out of their home, and the teenaged boys whose mischief gets them in trouble with the guards.
Rather disappointing GN. The story flips back and forth between the present day when a teenager who moves to a new town, gets in trouble for stealing from a grocery store, and the 1940s when Japanese Americans were interned after Pearl Harbor was bombed. The tie in the story between the 2 periods was rather loose and I found this a rather dissatisfying read.
This graphic novel alternates between the parallel stories of two young boys from two different time periods. The first is Ken Himitsu’s story whose family was forced into a Japanese relocation camp in Berkley in 1941 after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Ken’s story is completely wordless and portrayed in sepia brown tones with a brushed appearance. Kyle’s story is set in a Chicago suburb in 1978. The pages depicting his story are in blue with narrative. The two stories intersect when Kyle tries to ...more
This graphic novel explores connections between generations and across races, in an innovative way. It is the story of two teenage boys. One is a Japanese American who is sent to the internment camps during World War II. His part of the story shows the displacement of his family, the loss of their rights, and the realities of the camps. In alternating chapters, we also get the modern story of a teenage boy who moves to a new community and gets in with the wrong group of boys. Soon he is robbing ...more
I give it a 3 1/2. The title and cover caught my attention immediately and the description in the back confirmed my: yea this is going to be good. And it was, however it wasn't what I had expected and initially it was a bit of a downer but as I kept reading I realized I was glad it wasn't what I had thought it was and perhaps that made it better. The sepia toned illustrations, specifically of the mountain terrain and landscape are beautiful. It's a quick read and if you happen to have an hour or ...more
Martine Taylor
The graphics from the 1940s were really well done (5 star), but the modern graphics were much less appealing and the shifting between the 1940s and what appeared to be present day (but was 1970s) was confusing. I needed more clues to understand and enjoy the story better.
Penny Peck
This teen graphic novel tells two stories: a contemporary Caucasian boy is caught shoplifting and must do cleanup at the store to make up for it, and another teenager struggles with being in an Assembly Center and Relocation Camp for Japanese-Americans during WWII. The stories don't really mesh well; the contemporary story shows a kid who is really just a brat, while the WWII story tells a more dramatic true story. They are not parallels, even though they are both teen boys. The artwork is excel ...more
A boy is taken to stealing from the local store to impress his friends. He is caught and has to work at the grocery store to pay back all the stuff he bought. The shop keeper has a tragic and scary past and decided to take the boy under his wing
Bob Larson
Provides a look at one of the darker moments in American History. A good way to get young people to take a look at Japanese Internment, while also having a character who is more similar to them or those they go to school with.
Eric Piotrowski
This book merges an older man's memories of life in a Japanese internment camp with the exhausting ennui of a bored teenager and his foray into shoplifting. Except for a somewhat clever title, however, the overlap in that venn diagram doesn't cover much -- and it really doesn't make for a very compelling story. Wait, I take that back: The bit about the internment camp is well-told, done as it is with almost no dialogue. The slacker kid is just plain banal (yeah, it's really out of his control wh ...more
I can't even figure out how to review this book. But you should definitely read it!
Two stories set decades apart. Kyle in 1978 is new in town. And he is bored. He joins up with a few other boys and they start destroying property just for the fun of it. They get their kicks from stealing and breaking up a construction site. When they are caught, Kyle and one of the boys end up in jail. The second story is a wordless story set in 1941. A family of Japanese Americans are shipped off to an internment camp. Life in camp is hard and the family changes in ways they didn't see coming. ...more
Monica Bond-lamberty
Like the wordlessness of the Japanese internment story
Most readers consider graphic novels to be a visual medium, but more and more, it is becoming a place for writers too. Pyle is one of the best writers of everyday troubled teens in graphic novels today. He is not afraid to use silence or to tell a tale in very few words. His artwork is simple and raw, but to me they work because of the writing. This is a beautifully simple but very poignant tale of two generations worlds apart but with something in common: humanity. Check this out plus his other ...more
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