Four-Four-Two by Dean Hughes
This historical fiction novel tells the story of a young Japanese-American boy, Yuki Nakahara, who enlists in the army after being relocated to an internment camp. Well-researched and accurate in its historical details, Four-Four-Two also does a great job in conveying the emotions surrounding the prejudice Japanese-Americans felt during World War II and the sense of honor that prompted many like Yuki to fight for a country that hated them. Because this book was written for grade 7, the writing feels a little simplistic but the depictions of war are still jarring and convincing. Being fourth generation Japanese-American myself, this book hits closer to home for me than most other readers, but I hope that it reminds younger generations of the injustice of Japanese internment and the bravery of the Japanese-American soldiers.
From the Author’s Note: “The accomplishments of the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team were widely known by the end of World War II. But today, most people have no idea that an all-Nisei military unit ever existed, or that its soldiers fought so valiantly. Kathryn Shenkle, from the Center of Military History, United States Department of Defense, described the actions of the Nisei soldiers in a single sentence: The ‘100th Infantry Battalion and the ‘Go For Broke’ 442nd Regimental Combat Team is still the most decorated unit in U.S. military history.'”