Salisbury, Graham Hunt for the Bamboo Rat 323 pgs. Wendy Lamb Books (Random House), 2016. $17.99 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: PG Violence: PG13+ (military torture)
Zenji is an American born and living in Hawaii. He has been taught to respect his Japanese heritage and speaks fluent Japanese. World war II is sweeping across Europe and the United States is getting ready. Zenji is asked to join a secret division of the army located in the Philippines. Here his translation skills will be useful to discovering information about the Japanese. Zenji will be asked to decide his loyalties, even under extreme duress, decide the fate of those he is surveilling, and to endanger his life on many occasions.
This is historical fiction at its finest. It asks some very important questions about heritage versus the country you were born in in regards to loyalty, deciding what is the right thing to do in harrowing situations, and the costs of heroism. I avoiding reading it because I thought it would be upsetting, but its incredibly engaging and I could not put it down, I had to find out what would happen to Zenji. The descriptions of the places and the character building were some of the best I have read. I like that it deals with a little written about component of World War II and is loosely based on a real person. This is a book for High School only due to the level of military torture described.
HS– ESSENTIAL Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.