Friday, March 09, 2007

"Dear Miss Breed"
by
Joanne Oppeheim


My book this month is a Young Adult non fiction. "Dear Miss Breed" shows a chapter in American history many young people know little about. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan on December 7, 1941, the military feared the Pacific coast was vulnerable to another attack. Concerned that Japanese Americans would be disloyal and aid the enemy, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which led to the forcible relocation of all people of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast. He handed their fate over to the military. The War Department removed over 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, majority of whom were American citizens, and incarcerated them in camps in the interior of the country.

Clara Breed was the supervising librarian at the San Diego Public Library. She had strong friendships with the Japanese American young people who were regular visitors
When the evacuation orders were posted on doors and telephone poles on April 1, 1942, Miss Breed despaired. Families she knew to be loyal Americans had one week to sell or leave their homes, businesses and belongings. Japanese American children were pulled out of their school, no one knew where they were going.

Miss Breed went to see her friends off at the train station.. She handed out stamped, self addressed post cards and encouraged the children to write her of their experiences.

Miss Breed was an ordinary citizen, a young librarian, who was sparked into action by injustices during a painful time when our nation was at war. Appalled that Americans could be deprived of their civil liberties, Clara Breed spoke out by writing articles and letters in their defense. Most of all, she never stopped writing to "her children," who in turn wrote more than 200 letters to her. "Dear Miss Breed" makes this private correspondence public. Weaving together the children's letters, and Clara Breed's articles, as well as oral histories and Congressional testimony,
"Dear Miss Breed" ensures that this story will never be forgotten.

When nothing stands out in the Adult section browse through our Young Adult section
you may be surprised.

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