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Journey to Topaz: A Story of the Japanese-American Evacuation

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3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  826 Ratings  ·  128 Reviews
For use in schools and libraries only. After the Pearl Harbor attack an eleven-year-old Japanese-American girl and her family are forced to go to an aliens camp in Utah.
Hardcover, 149 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by Turtleback Books (first published 1971)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,573)
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Shannon
Jun 14, 2013 Shannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
My son was reading this as an assignment in his 5th grade class. The description caught my attention since I know very little about Japanese-Americans being sent to internment camps, and I wanted to be more informed so I could discuss the book with my son. We both enjoyed the book and had some great discussions about it. We felt connected to the characters and felt compassion and sympathy for what they were experiencing. There were sad parts, but they were not too overwhelming or intense for my ...more
Eva "Rigby" Nyman
A few of my classmates read this book in fifth grade for the pre-Humanities requirements. This was the only one I didn't read, but after my teacher assigned us to read and review book about intolerance, I remembered this one and decided to finally read it.

Yuki lives a perfectly normal life, surrounded by friends and family. But after Pearl Harbor is bombed by the Japanese in the midst of World War II, she starts to see her world fall apart. Soon after this, Yuki, her family, and thousands of oth
...more
Kathryn Reeder
Mar 24, 2015 Kathryn Reeder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Olivia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah Crawford
Jan 24, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably one of the best-known fiction books that deal with the internment of people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast at the start of World War II.

In the prologue, the author points out that the times were very different from what they are now. There was no civil rights movement, no marches, no group of people willing to help others who suffered discrimination.

Also, and I'm adding this, people of the time trusted their government much more than they do now. The fact that the govern
...more
Mrs. Paraisos
We read Journey to Topaz in our sixth grade literature circle. We decided to rate the book with three stars because we liked the plot, but it made us really sad and sometimes we got disinterested.

The reason we liked the book was the plot was very interesting. We wanted to know what would happen next in the book. The book also was also very detailed, and we felt emotional at different parts in the story. It made us angry at how the Americans treated the Japanese and we were very sad at certain sc
...more
Phoebe
Yuki is of Japanese heritage, but her life in Berkeley is 100% American. This is why, after Pearl Harbor is bombed, the appearance of the police and the FBI at her family's door is so hard to understand. Her father, a prominent citizen, is taken away on a Sunday evening, and the family doesn't hear anything about him for days. Uchida tells a story that has been repeated in dozens of children's chapter books about the experiences of the Japanese American communities on the West Coast in the early ...more
Gigi
Jan 13, 2015 Gigi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was very happy with this story.
It was very educational, due to the fact that the author had lived through a similar experience when they were younger. The story was told quite realistically and I found the characters to be believable as they made their way from Toraforan to Topaz. I really for some odd reason, loved Ken's character, and I enjoyed his development throughout the story. I was horrified by the descriptions of the horse stall living quarters, but unfortunately those were real. I a
...more
Michele
Feb 09, 2014 Michele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii, bio_autiobio
I bought dozens of books in grade school from the little Scholastic Books newsletter that was passed out in class every month (Mom had to have some serious budgetary talks with me to explain why no, I could not order ALL THE BOOKS). Of these, decades and many moves later, I still have five of them that I couldn't let go. This story of a young Japanese-American girl interned by the U.S. government during World War II is one. (If you're curious, the others include Freedom for a cheetah and Mr. Mys ...more
Jordyn Sandstrom
I had to read this for school, and this was probably one of the only books I've ever read for school that I actually liked.
Yuki is a young girl who lives in America with friends, neighbors, a school, and an normal life. That was until news started spreading that Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor. Her Dad got taken away, and her mother, her brother Ken, and she had to move into an internment camp along with every other Japanese in the western part of the united States.
This story is a good exampl
...more
Irene
Dec 12, 2015 Irene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Students of Any Age Learning About WWII
Recommended to Irene by: Caryn
Shelves: children
I'm a big fan of George Takei and his musical, Allegiance. Noticing this, a friend of mine recommended this book to me.

I had no idea there existed a children's book about the Japanese internment! In my own public education, I do not remember learning about World War II until high school (if we learned about it in middle school, I've forgotten), and we absolutely did not learn about Japanese internment. Even though this book is probably geared towards upper elementary and middle school-aged read
...more
Sydney Sandstrom
Jan 28, 2016 Sydney Sandstrom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is written by Yoshiko Unchida and is about a young girl named Yuki,and her family, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It tells what it was like in consentration camps, like what the living spaces were like and what kind of food they ate. What kind of jobs the men got and how they could earn money.

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it as a book to read along with history if you're studying WW2, or just as an on the side book. I would say this book is for ages around 9-15. I
...more
Brandon Ford
Oct 19, 2015 Brandon Ford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book journey to topaz was a story about the japanese - American evacuation. By Yoshiko Uchida. This book started out with yuki and ken and mama and papa. One sunday afternoon they were just listening to the radio and heard a roummor that the japanese had bombed pearl harbor. And then at there house and they heard a knock on the door and it was the FBI. They asked if papa was here and they said yes. So they took papa to a concentration camp where hundreds of japanese - American people where t ...more
Jaclyn
Mar 07, 2014 Jaclyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Officially, I would rate this a 3.5 star book.

I read this book to my kids (one girl, one boy), both are obsessed with WWII and have read many books on the subject. This perspective however was one that they haven't come across in their explorations, which is why I chose to read it to them. They were both fascinated with the story and couldn't imagine this happening here in the United States, in the state we live in no less! We had many great discussions together. It was eye-opening and educatio
...more
Elaine
Nov 08, 2009 Elaine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While there is a law against her parents becoming citizens, being born in the United States, Yuki and her brother Ken are American citizens. However, because they are Japanese also, they are required to evacuate their homes along with the other Japanese residents on the West Coast.

The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor and anybody in the United States looking like the enemy is treated like a prisoner. Yuki, her mother and brother are carted off to an internment camp. Their new "apartment" in the
...more
Sherry Wong
Oct 29, 2009 Sherry Wong rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The book Journey to Topaz is an intriguing book. The author, Ushida, brings up an issue of discrimination against the Japanese during World War II, after Pearl Harbor was bombed. Ushida describes this situation in the point of view of an eleven year old Japanese girl named Yuki Sakane. She goes through a hardship when her father gets taken away by the FBI. Being separated from her non-Japanese friends, She was forced to move out of her house and moved into camps (Tanforan Racetrack and in the de

...more
Thomas Wong
Dec 31, 2009 Thomas Wong added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Thomas by: Kate
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura Verret
Our federal government’s treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II is not a topic that is covered in most history books. In all of my studies, I have only seen it addressed twice; both were books of juvenile fiction. And yet, it is a story which should be explained and taught in all of its infamy.

The Story.

For Yuki Sakane and her family, December 7, 1941, is just like any other Sunday. They have just returned from church in Oakland and are sitting down to dinner when terrible news is
...more
Lauren Monsey Nagel
I really enjoyed reading this. The story was very interesting because it was true. The author takes us back in time to 1941 when Pearl Harbor was bombed and how our government reacted toward the Japanese that had been living here at the time. The story centers around Yuki Sakane and her brother and parents and their circle of friends. They were part of the 120,000 West Coast Japanese Americans were imprisoned behind barb wire. Two thirds of them were American Citizens at the time of this evacuat ...more
Sirpa Grierson
Finally last month took time to visit the mile-square block known as Topaz Internment Camp since WWII. Today it is staked out with markers, courtesy of an Eagle Scout project, but at one time housed thousands of Japanese Americans. This novel is written with a light, kind touch by Yoshida, but does give a history of the era from the viewpoint of a child who is moved from her lovely home in Berkeley, California to Topaz, near Delta, Utah. Worth reading.
Camille
This was very interesting, and about a piece of history I was not familiar with. I appreciated the optimistic and positive attitude that the mother displays throughout the book and thought it was interesting that that's the attitude that the author's grandfather told her to have throughout life. It would have been so easy to be bitter if placed in such a situation as this.
Susie
Nov 15, 2012 Susie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Journey to Topaz
By Yoshiko Uchida
Genre: Historical Fiction

"Ding Dong!". This was the sound that Yuki heard on the morning that her dad was taken away by the police. Yuki knew that he was a "jap", and that was the reason her father was being taken away. But something Yuki didn't know was that she too, would soon be taken away to Topaz, a relocation camp for the Japanese. Why is this? Because she is japenese. Join Yuki and her family as they go on many adventures to make the long journey to Topaz.
...more
Adina
Jan 28, 2016 Adina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recently learned that the Georgia Social Studies standards don't include Japanese internment until High School. I remember reading this book in 5th grade, the same year I read the Diary of Anne Frank. To me, it is imperative that students learn about this tragic episode in American history when they first encounter World War II and the Holocaust...
Cynthia Egbert
A well told story that introduces well the topic of the treatment of Japanese Americans here during WWII. It is less harsh than other stories I have read but still paints a true picture. It hurts to read of this period in our history but I think it is important. Especially in today's political climate.
Art
I read this because I felt like I needed to know more about this sad episode of American history. I was gonna say "a generation ago" but I suppose it's at least two by now, probably three generations. In any case, it was a good read, an easy one though the topic is uneasy. It's written in the third person, but feels like a first person account. (In fact, I had to get up and go check, to make sure.) The language is a little stilted, but that's perhaps part of the character, or personality of the ...more
Kristin Traylor
Jun 22, 2012 Kristin Traylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A memoir written for young adults about the internment of West Coast Japanese during the Second World War. Yuki's family lives a warm and comfortable life in Berkely when all of a sudden war breaks out, and eventually the father is put under arrest and taken to Montana, while the rest of the family is gathered up put on buses to relocate, taken for awhile to horse stalls in the Bay Area, then taken by train to a desolate part of Utah, a place with freezing winters, blazing summers, and harsh dus ...more
Heidi
Dec 13, 2011 Heidi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rian Giunta
Apr 25, 2016 Rian Giunta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did! I could picture everything happening in the book. I could imagine how upset I would be in Yuki's situation. I pictured the awful places she had to live in, and the horrible food. This was an excellent book!!!
Shomeret
I have looked at information about the author's other books, and seen that this was the first. It's also a YA novel. So it doesn't deal with adult issues like the choice of whether or not to sign a loyalty oath and the complex negotiations with the authorities that probably had to happen for an Issei to be re-united with his family during WW II. There was just a great deal more happening behind the scenes than the child narrator could have perceived. As an adult, who has read adult books on this ...more
Annette
In 1941, eleven-year-old Yuki Sakane and her Japanese American family lived in Berkely, CA. On December 7, their world was changed forever when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Evening of the same day, Mr. Sakane along with thousands of other Japanese males, was arrested by the FBI. By the following May, Yuki and the rest of her family were evacuated to the Tanforan Camp and housed in the horse stables. Eventually they were moved again to the Great Basin deserts of Utah, the camp at Topaz http://www.t ...more
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whats about it 1 1 Oct 28, 2015 03:05PM  
What's The Name o...: SOLVED. Girl sent away during World War 2? [s] 7 24 Jun 13, 2014 10:47AM  
do you like this book? 12 10 May 10, 2009 08:26PM  
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Yoshiko, born on November 24, 1921, was the second daughter of Japanese immigrant parents Takashi and Iku. Her father worked as a businessman for Mitsui and Company in San Francisco, and Iku wrote poetry, passing along her love of literature to her girls. Though the Great Depression raged, the Uchida family enjoyed comforts because of Takashi's well-paying job and their own frugality. Yoshiko love ...more
More about Yoshiko Uchida...

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