We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration by Frank Abe, Tamiko Nimura, Ross Ishikawa, and Matt Sasaki
Chin Music Press
Publication Date: May 18, 2021
We Hereby Refuse illustrates the experiences of three individuals—Jim Akutsu, Hiroshi Kashiwagi, and Mitsuye Endo—caught up in the US government’s decision during World War II to treat Japanese Americans as traitors. Betrayed and wronged by their country, they fight to keep their families together while struggling against physical and psychological violence and misleading information. However, their decision to challenge the loyalty oath contract causes problems within the US government and the Japanese American community. The choices they make will lead them to life-altering consequences.
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Himawari House by Harmony Becker
First Second / Macmillan
Publication Date: October 19, 2021
A young American, Nao, travels across the globe to attend school in Japan and to reconnect with her Japanese heritage. There, she discovers that her desire to fit in is complicated by her Americanness but finds a makeshift sense of belonging with other foreign exchange students Hyejung and Tina, who are also forging their own paths far away from home.
This coming-of-age story accurately captures the joys and pangs of young adulthood and the uncertainty of being caught between two worlds. Teens will find Nao, Hyejung, and Tina’s search for belonging, friendship, and identity both timeless and familiar. The art is at turns humorous and tender, and every character feels fully realized. A strength of this book is Becker‘s effective use of language (often phonetically described) to dismantle reductive and stereotypical ideas of bilingual speakers or speakers with accents. Instead, characters that speak in dialect, with accents, or with uneven syntax are shown to be just as deeply human, complex, and radiant as native or majority language speakers.
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The Golden Sheep, vol. 1 by Kaori Ozaki
Vertical Comics / Kodansha
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Tsugu Miikura, a talented teenage musician, has
returned to her old hometown. Her family might be stuffed into a tiny apartment
and her father might be MIA, but Tsugu is confident that her childhood friends
are still the same people she left behind. During her first day back, Tsugu
slowly learns that her old buddies are all very changed people: once-charming
Yuushin has become a delinquent, kind Asari is now a prototypical mean girl,
and sensitive Sora is the unfortunate target of Yuushin’s aggression. Tsugu is
forced to grapple with her friendships changing in ways she never expected, and
when she finds Sora attempting to take his own life, the two begin a journey
that leads them all the way to Tokyo…
Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, April 30 Edition