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Tag: Martin W. Sandler

Spotlight on YALSA’s Nonfiction Award Finalists: Fiction Readalikes for Imprisoned by Martin W. Sandler


Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II by Martin W. Sandler is one of the finalists for the 2014 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. Great nonfiction can encourage readers to find out more about its subject matter, which often leads them to seek out great fiction based on the same topic.

Just as Martin W. Sandler uses comprehensive research and first-hand accounts to bring the event surrounding the Japanese American internment to life, each of the following novels addresses the experience of young Japanese Americans in different ways.  Weedflower and Thin Wood Walls tackle the internment experience head on, while Beacon Hill Boys examines the legacy of internment for the children and grandchildren of internees.  Best Friends Forever takes the form of a fictional scrapbook, illustrating moments in the lives of two young girls separated by the internment.

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Truth is Strange

You may think of the nonfiction section as the sane part of a library collection. No impossible plots, no unexplained mysteries — just facts. But if you know where to look, you can find plenty of unexpected weirdness lurking within those factual books.

For example, tucked in the medical section is a book titled Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood (2005 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults), written by Julie Gregory. Munchausen by Proxy, or Factitious Disorder by Proxy, is a condition in which a caretaker deliberately harms their dependent, like a parent who feeds matches to their child to create symptoms of illness (true story). In this book, Julie Gregory remembers a childhood of doctor’s offices, medical tests, and hospital beds. She recalls a conversation between her mother and a doctor:

“Well, Ms. Gregory, we’ve got good news. The Holter monitor shows no significant findings that lead us to believe that Julie has a heart condition requiring further tests. Nothing outside a normal parameter.” The hospital doctor is following the zigzags on my chart, showing us what he can’t find. Mom slaps her leg.

“What? What do you mean you can’t find anything?” She counts on her fingers the number of things leading up to this moment. “Dr. Kate called you, she told you this kid had a racing heart, was out of breath all the time. She told me we were going to get helped here, that we’d finally be able to get to the bottom of things. What are you trying to tell me here, that this kid is normal? That I’m making this up?”

It’s tempting to believe that Gregory is making it up. But that’s the rub, isn’t it? True events can challenge credulity. That’s why the nonfiction section of your library can contain some very unbelievable stories.

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