The Journal of Ben Uchida
Barry Denenberg

Ben was just like every other boy his age. He didn’t like school, he loved baseball, and he loved hanging out with his friends. Ben’s life consisted of these things until the day Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Everything in Ben’s life changed at that point. Ben’s family was Japanese. His father was taken away from the family by the government. Later, his family was moved with hundreds of other Japanese families to an Internment Camp. They were given cramped living quarters and terrible food. They entire compound was enclosed by a barb-wire fence and guarded by the military. The people were not allowed to leave the camp, and so proceeded to live out their lives in this internment camp. Ben’s family daily hopes that their father will return them. The restrictions become more strict as the weeks go by. The families have to be in their quarters by 7pm each night. The kids are forced to go to school at the camp without even having books, chalkboards or enough chairs for the students. Life has certainly changed for Ben and the rest of the Japanese. Will their lives ever go back to the way they were? Will Ben’s father ever return to their family? Will the American people ever accept them back into society? Will America win the war? There are so many unknowns for the Japanese people. Some of the effects turn out and some of them will surprise you.

I think that this book would be very good for both boys and girls to read. The boys are more likely to read this because it is about a boy. I think it can really open their eyes up to some of our history that isn’t discussed very much in schools today. I think that this book would probably be best for students that are in sixth grade or are close to that age.

I think this book could be used for a number of different things. This book would also go very well for teaching a history unit on World War II, or could also just be used as a literature piece. This book helps not only in bringing history alive for kids, but it is also about a kid that went through a major event of World War II. Most people don’t know very much about the Japanese internment camps and I think this book would be a good way to inform more students about it.

This book could very easily be used for a multi-cultural lesson and would be very good for an ethnically diverse classroom. This could open up much discussion about bullying, oppression, racism, etc. I think it would be good for students to read more about how certain ethnic groups were treated in our history. I would have students discuss about ways they have been mistreated. Do they know of any ways their family has been mistreated because of their background? How did this make them feel? Have they every treated someone else badly because of their ethnicity? Many aspects of this can open up discussion in a classroom and also help you learn more about your students’ lives. It is good to know things like how their family has been treated and how the kids have been treated. In turn this can be a good way to talk about how racism is wrong and also discuss how each person should be treated fairly. It is wrong to make fun of others. It is wrong to treat them differently because of their ethnicity. - AK