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

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  1,181 ratings  ·  190 reviews
Like any 11-year-old, Yuki Sakane is looking forward to Christmas when her peaceful world is suddenly shattered by the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Uprooted from her home and shipped with thousands of West Coast Japanese Americans to a desert concentration camp called Topaz, Yuki and her family face new hardships daily.
Paperback, 149 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by Heyday Books (first published 1971)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  1,181 ratings  ·  190 reviews

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Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Alison S
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing. A must read!
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wish there were more books about this disaster of American policy. Yuki and her family and friends were brave and kind. I wondered what happened next...
Lauren Stoolfire
I haven't read all that much fiction where the relocation and internment of Japanese Americans during WWII takes center stage, but this children's/ middle grade title is a good place to start as it is the fictionalized account of a woman who experienced it first hand when she was young. If this isn't required reading for 5th or 6th graders it really should be.
Maddox W.
This book is all about a chines family living in the US in during WWI. They were living a normal day and the FBI comes to their door and takes their father away right after the attack of Perl Harbor. They send them all to camps down in the east. They live in hoarded conditions and little space. They meet wonderful classmates and people but unfortunately they have to move camps after reviving a letter from father saying he was OK they got their hopes up and now you will have to read to see what h ...more
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read for children’s lit class. 4.5. I really liked it. It’s a really interesting, child-appropriate look at ww2 Japanese concentration (not really internment) camps. The characters are lovely and sweet. It ended quite abruptly but anything to get the family out of there is good by me.
Amber Spencer
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I think this made a bigger impression on me, having just been to visit the Manzanar National Park. It’s a part of history we should not forget.
Eva "Rigby" Nyman
May 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: in-class-books
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
Jan 15, 2014 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
Nov 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike Steele
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
A book read by my brother’s fifth grade class in the early 2000s, Journey to Topaz is children’s historical fiction detailing a young Japanese-American girl’s experiences as her family is forced into an internment camp during World War II. Uchida’s main character, Yuki, is not a character who meaningfully develops: she is a lens through which the reader can see and feel the experience of being suddenly uprooted and trying to stay positive while the world crumbles under the actions of a different ...more
Christopher Skip Green
I read this book looking for books presenting a variety of perspectives on World War II to pitch to my students who will be reading The Book Thief. To my knowledge, there aren't a lot of books that deal with the evacuation of Japanese Americans from the West Coast, so I was excited to see what Journey to Topaz had to offer.

This book does a pretty good job of laying out basic factual information about what the average Japanese American living in California might have experienced at the outbreak
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
This is a short chapter book about a Japanese-American girl who was incarcerated at Topaz during WWII. I started doing some work on the Topaz Wikipedia page for work--mostly putting in citations. I hope to work on it more, but this book conveyed more information than what I learned doing fact-checking. It helped me understand the emotional impact of how Japanese-Americans were uprooted from the homes and not allowed to return. Families were split up and vulnerable populations got sick or died fr ...more
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book. It takes a really tough subject and makes it manageable for middle grade readers. I liked that it presented many of the varied reactions of the Japanese Americans interned during WWII, and also that it evoked compassion for their situation while steadfastly but gently maintaining the point that their own government did this to these people. I’m not a fan of many books for the middle grades because they tend to fail to hold my interest, but this was a quick and compelling read ...more
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Journey to topaz was a funny, touching and a poignant read.

To me, Yuki's story was a little too naïve, as she seems to be blundering through everything in a bit of a babyish tone. However, the story falls together to be sad, sweet and relatively funny.

This book also made me research the Japanese evacuation that this book was set in. While this incident was well covered up, the truth was only recently uncovered, which makes this story all the more important, as it gives you an inside view on th
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book shows the journey of a young girl who had to go through hard times and obstacles every step of the way. She was living a normal life but soon because of the attack on Pearl Harbor her life changed. As they were evacuated from their home, possessions and memories were all left behind. This book was a touching fact-filled novel and poignant read. Uchida shows how a 11 year old's world falls apart because of the mistake by her native country. Her father is taken away and soon they all la ...more
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good introduction for young readers to the internment of Japanese in America after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Raises questions and issues surrounding morality, race, citizenship, etc without answering these questions. Yuki is a fun sweet character, lively, outspoken and emotional. Though it is fiction, Uchida explains in the forward that much of it is written from her experience or experiences of families she knew, with the hope that, “people everywhere will realize what once took place in t ...more
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
A story of the Japanese internment, told from the perspective of 11-year old Yuki, whose entire life is uprooted when she and her family are forced to leave their home and are imprisoned in a camp at the behest of the United States government. The story is quite gently told, almost too much so, and some of the trauma and the absolute injustice of it all don't come through as strongly as they might. But it is an excellent introduction to an event that is not talked about enough and should be an u ...more
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Journey to Topaz is written for a young audience, probably 4th-6th grade. It tells the story of imprisoned Japanese during WWII on America soil. Since the book is for younger readers, it downplays many of the injustices suffered by this group of people but it is very well written and provides a springboard for further conversations. I would recommend this book to be read and discussed with students or between parent and child.
Jessica Lynn
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I read this one as part of our historical fiction unit. It tells the story of a young Japanese-American girl and her family who are relocated to an internment camp after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It was a good story to introduce our students to a part of the WWII history that many of our own citizens don't know much about. The story was accessible and relatable to my 6th-grade students and they enjoyed the book.
For not being the biggest fan of historical fiction, this was pretty good. I had to read this for a class, and I enjoyed the experience more than I have other books. I can't give an entirely honest review considering that I hadn't read this for my own enjoyment, and instead as an assignment. Do I recommend this book? Yes, if you like books that are simple yet sad. Would I read it again? Maybe in the future, for my own enjoyment.
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Like any 11-year-old, Yuki Sakane is looking forward to Christmas when her peaceful world is suddenly shattered by the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Uprooted from her home and shipped with thousands of West Coast Japanese Americans to a desert concentration camp called Topaz, Yuki and her family face new hardships daily.
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Before reading Journey to Topaz, my knowledge of the Japanese Internment Camps was scarce. Learning about Yuki's family experience and treatment because of Pearl Harbor makes me reflect on our nation's history. How even now it feels like history is still repeating itself.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
I did not really like this book because I do not like learning about stuff that has happened before in our world. I would rather read other stories that catch my attention and that I would want to keep reading when we are done reading it for the day.
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought it was a very strong developed book and did not jump around it got focused on one point in the book and told us directly what was happening and very vived details of what was going on in the book so overall very good book.
Nov 22, 2019 added it
This is a good book if you like books about a family member leaving and coming back and it is good if you like a fiction book about japans people going to camp because of war and being in the perspective of a person in a camp.
Sharon Buxton
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A. historical fiction, children's, grade 4, Japanese American internment, WWII, Weekly Reader Book Club, Mom's stash, keep
Mar 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book was okay, wasn't one of my favorite books that I have read. I'm more into crimes and mystery. It was short which that was the only good thing.
Adrianna Paulette
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book was not great or bad. It was just alright.
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
whats about it 1 2 Oct 28, 2015 03:05PM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Girl sent away during World War 2? [s] 7 26 Jun 13, 2014 10:47AM  
do you like this book? 12 11 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

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