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The Fences Between Us (Dear America)

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,127 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
After living through the traumatic attack on Pearl Harbor, Piper Davis returns to her home in Washington state, where she begins chronicling her compelling journey through one of history's most tragic and unforgettable eras.
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Published September 1st 2010 by Scholastic, Inc. (first published January 1st 2010)
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I read a lot of Dear America books during my childhood, so I was excited to learn that they were being brought back in print, and even more excited when the first new volume turned out to be about the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. So when my bookstore got an ARC of this, I snagged it. And it's pretty good: It does the trick that made the Dear America series so absorbing when I was ten, of inserting the reader into the time of its setting and making one feel the past living and br ...more
Oct 29, 2011 Bill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book represents so much of what I hate about racial representation in American pop culture. Fences is about a young white girl whose father ministers at a Japanese Baptist church during World War II. When the Japanese are interned after Pearl Harbor, he moves with his daughter to Idaho to continue to minister to his flock in the camp. Piper Davis is his daughter and the book is her diary.

My problem is that, while the preacher is based on a real person. Piper is not. This story simply did no
I was so pleased to see a Dear America book that said, "Seattle, Washington" on the front. And, reading carefully, I noticed that the heroine attends Washington Junior High (the predecessor, in a different building, to my own Washington Middle School).

While I was startled that the "diary" about Japanese-American internment would be about a white girl, the story that Larson chose to tell is based on a real family--that of Pastor Emery Andrews, the white pastor of the Japanese Baptist Church in Se
Margo Tanenbaum
Nov 18, 2010 Margo Tanenbaum rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-ii, 1940s
Award-winning author Kirby Larson, author of many outstanding titles including the Newbery winner Hattie Big Sky, offers us the first title in a relaunch of Scholastic's popular Dear America series. The Fences Between Us is the diary of Piper Davis, the appealing 13-year old daughter of a pastor at a Japanese Baptist church in 1941 Seattle. When her 18-year old big brother Hank and his two best buddies (known among themselves as the Three Musketeers) enlist in the Navy, they're sent to Pearl Har ...more
Tara Chevrestt
I wasn't expecting much from this to be perfectly honest. My mother found an arc and passed it on to me and upon first glance, I thought it too childish for me. I needed a quick, uncomplicated read just until I could pick up my library books but ended up reading it all day and the library books just sat there.

Nevertheless, I obviously loved it.. read the full review here:
Jun 15, 2010 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was interested in learning about the Japanese internment camp by Twin Falls, Idaho. Plus I received this book for free from Scholastic Book Club.
Dec 30, 2010 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2010
I grew up with the Dear America books. They went out of print a few years ago, and it's been hard to get the few titles I didn't already own. Scholastic has done me a favor, and brought the series back! They've already reprinted a handful of titles, and plan to do more. They also are brining in new stories. One story I haven't read before is The Diary of Piper Davis: The Fences Between Us. Seattle, Washington 1941.

Piper's story is one I strongly relate to. It's based on the story of Reverend Eme
Mary Ann
Dec 09, 2010 Mary Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scholastic has relaunched its Dear America series of historical fiction written in a diary format, and this is the first new title published since 2004. Larson, winner of the Newbery Honor for Hattie Big Sky (Delacorte, 2006), creates a compelling story that documents life in World War II, first in Seattle and then at the Minidoka Relocation Center, where Japanese Americans were incarcerated for over two years. Thirteen-year-old Piper Davis begins her diary in November 1941, just as her older br ...more
From December 2010 SLJ:
Gr 58In 1941 Seattle, Piper Davis is a typical 13-year-old in many ways: she enjoys spending time with her friends, listening to big-band music, and walking home from school with the boy she's sweet on. Since her mother died when she was a baby, her father, pastor at the Japanese Baptist Church, has raised Piper and her older sister and brother. She has never found straddling the two distinct communities unusual; however, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, her world is tur
Nov 11, 2010 Dori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author of the 2007 Newbery Honor Book Hattie Big Sky, Kirby Larson has a wonderful knack for making history come alive. This book, the first new Dear America title in five years, comes in the form of the diary of a fictional seventh-grader named Piper Davis, who lived in Seattle in 1941.

Piper seems very real, with a best friend and a boy she likes, though she worries about her big brother, who enlisted in the Navy just before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Suddenly the Japanese American ki
Nov 02, 2010 Nielson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A part of the Dear America series, this particular book focuses on the life of Piper Davis at the brink of WW II. Piper lives in Seattle where, after America was bombed at Pearl Harbor, her Japanese neighbors were forcibly incarcerated in war relocation camps. Although not Japanese herself, Piper's father is the pastor of the Japanese Baptist church and decides to follow his congregation to their war relocation camp in Idaho. These books are a wonderful way for students to learn more about these ...more
I wasn't sure what to expect from Scholastic's first addition to the Dear America series in years, but Larson didn't let me down. Coming back to my favorite elementary school series as a high schooler, I still found The Fences Between Us to be interesting and a good read. Larson managed to incorporate great historical information into the story quite smoothly, and she offered a unique perspective on WWII. Piper Davis, the "author" of the diary, faces a rare dilemma during the early days of Ameri ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

THE FENCES BETWEEN US by Kirby Larson is a new book in the DEAR AMERICA series. Having already read Larson's HATTIE BIG SKY, I knew she would handle the historical subject matter in a way that would make the reader feel part of the past. I wasn't disappointed.

Piper Davis lives in Seattle, Washington. It is 1941, and her older brother has just enlisted in the Navy. The worst thing she can imagine happens when the Japanese attack Pear
Dec 30, 2010 Meredith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrensbooks
This children's historical fiction is one of the many books in the Dear America series. The Fences Between Us is about how the 13 year old Piper Davis and her family (college attending, "Rosie the Riveter"-like sister, Margie; Navy enlisting, Pearl Harbor survivor brother, Hank; and pastor to a Japanese Baptist church father, Pastor Davis) deal with the war and having their whole church congregation relocated to camps due to their Japanese ancestry. The story begins with Piper getting a diary ab ...more
the return of Scholastic's 'Dear America' series- first person journal-style stories set in a variety of moments in American history. I loved Larson's "Hattie Big Sky" and was excited to see she did a book for 'Dear America.'
Here the narrator, Piper, daughter of a baptist minister of a Japansese-American congregation in 1940s Seattle takes us from a time just prior to Pearl Harbor (where her older brother was serving on the Arizona [he lives]) to the incarceration of the Japanese. She and her fa
Jul 24, 2011 Shannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, 2011
Surprise! I wasn't picked for the original GoodReads giveaway, but I still received a copy in the mail! I'm so thrilled to read this and to use it in my classroom!

What an amazing story. Well-researched doesn't even begin to describe it. I love that the main character's family is based on a real Seattle pastor's family. The historical note section in the back has unbelievable, terrible facts and includes lots of photos. There are more photos on the website, by the way, which is amazing and awesom
May 04, 2011 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book takes place during World War II. Piper Davis is a thirteen-year-old girl who doesn't realize how lucky she is. Piper doesn't like having a father who's a pastor, who seems like he spends more time with the Japanese than with her. Not to mention that her brother, Hank, enlists in the Navy expecting not to go into war any time soon. But when the bombing of Pearl Harbor occurs shortly after Hank heads off to sea, Piper is anxious to hear if he survived. But when Piper hears that her broth ...more
Mar 17, 2011 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii, young-adult, asian
The Dear America books are fun and I grabbed this at the library. It's based on the true story of a white Baptist minister to a Japanese church in Seattle who moves his family to Idaho when his entire congregation is sent to the Minidoka Internment Camp. He lives in Twin Falls and visits the camp daily to help the members of his congregation. It was a very inspiring story told from the daughter's point of view of how difficult it can be to face down prejudice and live up to your convictions. It ...more
As a child, I devoured the Dear America books, fictional diaries from 13-year-old girls in various times in American history, so getting this one as a nostalgic Christmas present was a real treat. The new books lack the ribbon bookmark and break the illusion of authenticity by putting the author's name on the cover, both of which disappointed me, but this book was still a nice trip down memory lane, following the formula I remember so well. Unfortunately, I never quite got past the premise -- a ...more
Kelsey Hanson
Honestly, I'm a bit frustrated with this one. This book follows the story of the Japanese internment camps in America following the attack on Pearl Harbor. However, it is told from the perspective of a white girl. This seems like really odd choice especially for the Dear America series which has featured a variety of different girls and races. I admit that the main character's father was inspired by an actual preacher, but the thought of a young white girl spending any real amount of time in an ...more
Barbara A.
Dear America returns! An engaging and readable page turner. The heroine here is the daughter of a Baptist minister who joins her father as he courageously supports and eventually follows his congregation of Japanese Americans into WWII internment camps. Though sometimes anachronisms slip in--language, sophistication and activities--in recent post depression/ early WWII would their really be such abundance and variety of foods in school cafeteria, homes and the camps? --this is a pleasing read an ...more
Nov 18, 2010 Carole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Larson chose the perfect narrator to draw the reader into this episode of history. Piper Davis's brother is in the Navy, stationed at Pearl Harbor. Her father is the minister for a Japanese Baptist congregation, who is so loyal to his flock that he moves with them - taking Piper - to the internment camp in Minidoka, Idaho. In real life, war does not sort out neatly into the good country and the bad country like some of the older history books would have you believe. Gray is much harder to explai ...more
Kirby Larson's characters are always so well written. You feel as though they are real people you actually know, and care about! Besides being historical fiction, I think it's one of the things I love best about her books, including Hattie Big Sky and Hattie Ever After. I am convinced that Piper Davis and Hattie Inez Brooks would have been friends if they lived at the same time and in the same place.

I support independent bookstores. You can use this link to find one near you: http://www.indieb
Priscilla Herrington
I've come to expect a lot from the books in the Dear America series, and Kirby Larson did not disappoint with The Fences Between Us: The Diary of Piper Davis, Seattle, Washington, 1941.

This book tells about the period just before and then after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It documents the blatant bias against Japanese and Japanese American citizens, culminating in their removal to internment camps in desolate parts of the country.

What makes this book stand out from other accounts of the period
Feb 26, 2015 Elizabeth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Read because it takes place, mostly, in Seattle but I might leave it off the list because it only fills 2 of the 50 requirements and if I'm trying to read as few books as possible to get all 50, a book that only does 2 isn't going to cut it.

This was an interesting epistolary novel, loosely based on the real story of a white minister to a Japanese baptist church when the Japanese-Americans were interned during WWII. The story is told by the diary entries of his fictional pre-teen/teenage daughter
I loved the Dear America historical journal series growing up and had been looking forward to this one as a quick, light trip down Memory Lane - my expectations were fairly low, as I don't tend to gravitate towards the YA genre or the contrived pseudo-diary format or late additions to an established collection. That said, I really enjoyed this. Set in the 1940s, late in World War II and following Pearl Harbor, the book follows a middle school-aged girl as she corresponds with her Naval officer b ...more
Sarah Kinert
Apr 27, 2015 Sarah Kinert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Fences Between Us was a very good book. I kept reading day after day. The book is written in a journal format and was very interesting. It is based on how Piper's brother went into the Marines. It is more of a history based book.

In the beginning Piper and her brother are both home but her brother is about to graduate. Once he graduates he enlists into the Marines. He is then sent off and Piper is having a hard time with this. Then December 7, 1941 came and her brother was stationed at Pearl
May 31, 2016 12WholockLover221B- rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in WWII and the Japanese in America during that time.
Dear America returns. I personally really like the look of the most recent books, and they're longer now, thank goodness.

Piper Davis life is great. She has a good best friend, a nice boyfriend, and a great big brother.

Then Hank goes off to war.

A really thought Hank was going to die. Every time a battle was mentioned in the Pacific I was as worried as Piper. Also, did anyone figure out the rules of that code Piper and Hank had? Please tell me if you did. And I don't mean tell me what the encoded
Sep 18, 2015 Tanja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historical fiction is definitely one of my favorite genres and Kirby Larson one of my favorite authors of this genre. She has a wonderful gift in letting the reader travel in time and place, to experience what life was like during a particular time, here World War II. There is no doubt throughout the story as well as evident in the extensive author's notes and references that accompany this story as well as others written by her, that a lot of research goes into each of her books. While I have r ...more
Angie Hernandez
Jul 22, 2014 Angie Hernandez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a reread for me and it is still one of my favorites! I love reading historical fiction and especially these Dear America books.

This book is the Diary of Piper Davis, daughter of a minister. Her brother recently enlisted in the Navy. When the Pearl Harbor attack happens everything changes around her world and all the ones around her. Many of the Japanese people must go off to the prison camps. Not only Japanese but Japanese-Americans. Her father is a minister of many Japanese people ,
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Kirby Larson went from history-phobe to history fanatic while writing the 2007 Newbery Honor Book, HATTIE BIG SKY. Her passion for historical fiction is reflected in titles such as THE FENCES BETWEEN US, THE FRIENDSHIP DOLL, as well as the sequel to HATTIE BIG SKY, HATTIE EVER AFTER, and her two latest titles, DUKE--which was nominated for 5 state Young Reader Choice awards as well as being a fina ...more
More about Kirby Larson...

Other Books in the Series

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