Monday, April 12, 2010

Missing in Action by Dean Hughes

Hughes, Dean Missing in Action, 228 p. Atheneum (Simon), 2010.  $16.99.  Language – PG (racial slurs).  Now that his father is missing in action, Jay, 12, and his mother have moved back to her small hometown, Delta, Utah – right next to Topaz, a Japanese relocation center in the Utah desert.  Jay is anxious to fit with the other town boys, but his ¼ Navajo heritage is written on his face, so he is constantly up for some mild ribbing.  Then his grandfather asks Jay to help out on the family farm – along with a 17 year old detainee from Topaz.  Ken seems as American as Jay, even with his funny features, but he wouldn’t be locked up if he hadn’t done something wrong – right?  Jay - and his whole town- has a lost to learn about judging your neighbor.  And Jay must come face to face with the fact that his dad may be better off dead.  While I cringed to read the very authentic 1940’s anti-Japanese sentiments, I was also thinking what a great book this would be for a Utah history class to read – and to enable everyone to talk about historic and modern racism. It may be a bit too Utah flavored for a national audience, but it is hard for me to judge.  EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher

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