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Barbed Wire Baseball

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As a boy, Kenichi “Zeni” Zenimura dreams of playing professional baseball, but everyone tells him he is too small. Yet he grows up to be a successful player, playing with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig! When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor in 1941, Zeni and his family are sent to one of ten internment camps where more than 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry are imprisoned with As a boy, Kenichi “Zeni” Zenimura dreams of playing professional baseball, but everyone tells him he is too small. Yet he grows up to be a successful player, playing with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig! When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor in 1941, Zeni and his family are sent to one of ten internment camps where more than 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry are imprisoned without trials. Zeni brings the game of baseball to the camp, along with a sense of hope. This true story, set in a Japanese internment camp during World War II, introduces children to a little-discussed part of American history through Marissa Moss’s rich text and Yuko Shimizu’s beautiful illustrations. The book includes author and illustrator notes, archival photographs, and a bibliography.


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As a boy, Kenichi “Zeni” Zenimura dreams of playing professional baseball, but everyone tells him he is too small. Yet he grows up to be a successful player, playing with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig! When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor in 1941, Zeni and his family are sent to one of ten internment camps where more than 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry are imprisoned with As a boy, Kenichi “Zeni” Zenimura dreams of playing professional baseball, but everyone tells him he is too small. Yet he grows up to be a successful player, playing with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig! When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor in 1941, Zeni and his family are sent to one of ten internment camps where more than 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry are imprisoned without trials. Zeni brings the game of baseball to the camp, along with a sense of hope. This true story, set in a Japanese internment camp during World War II, introduces children to a little-discussed part of American history through Marissa Moss’s rich text and Yuko Shimizu’s beautiful illustrations. The book includes author and illustrator notes, archival photographs, and a bibliography.

30 review for Barbed Wire Baseball

  1. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    A new baseball season looms in the ol' U. S. of A. and I'll be watching, and listening. Growing up, I bent my ear almost every day to my transistor radio to listen to Ernie Harwell announce Detroit Tigers games. Sometimes I listened, or watched, with my Dad, who also numerous times a year drove me from my home in Grand Rapids across the state to Tiger Stadium. Bleacher seats 5 bucks. My Little League glove was wedded to my left hand; that is, when I was not filling out the score card for the gam A new baseball season looms in the ol' U. S. of A. and I'll be watching, and listening. Growing up, I bent my ear almost every day to my transistor radio to listen to Ernie Harwell announce Detroit Tigers games. Sometimes I listened, or watched, with my Dad, who also numerous times a year drove me from my home in Grand Rapids across the state to Tiger Stadium. Bleacher seats 5 bucks. My Little League glove was wedded to my left hand; that is, when I was not filling out the score card for the game. In Denny McLain's 34 win season I saw 7 games (and can prove it, the ticket stubs still in my baseball card shoebox), though 3 of those games were losses! When I was growing up I never read that other, equally passionate baseball fans played baseball here in this country in the forties behind barbed wire in desert concentration camps, Japanese-American families "interned" for fear that they would side with the Japanese post-Pearl Harbor. Was this racism, or a move to reflect reasonable fears? If so, where were the German camps for German-Americans? Families imprisoned for years?! I know, the impact of Pearl Harbor in those early hours was stunning, people were angry, but the apologies that came too little and too late were more than warranted. I never knew this important story of Kenichi Zenimura, or Zeni, the "father of Japanese American baseball", when he and his family are sent to an interment camp. Before that, Zeni was an ambassador for baseball in Japan, playing alongside the likes of Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb. The focus of the story is not on the reasonable rage Zeni might have experienced, given his demonstrated patriotism and connections with American baseball, but on building a baseball field with several teams organized into leagues, sewing uniforms, building stands, and so on. Marissa Moss is an established name in picture books, and I like it that this book exists, and it's well-written, but for me, there are too many words, making this more of an illustrated book than a picture book (where the pictures carry the primary work of the story) Because it is the sepia-toned period artwork of Yuko Shimizu that carries the day for me in this book, and it should be even more central, imo. So: The All-American sport, played in prison by Japanese-Americans. A sad, shameful tale for a baseball fan to hear about. And I didn't know about it until decades later because the internment was never taught in school, and American baseball never acknowledged this period, so kids like me with mitts on our laps watched in ignorance. And it took decades for American baseball teams to begin to recruit Japanese players from a country that also loved baseball, thanks in part to Zeni, and they love it still. A companion book I just read is "Baseball Saved Us" on the same topic.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    Before reading Michael Cunningham's A Wild Swan: And Other Tales, I noted the bio of its artist, Yuko Shimizu, on the outer flap: it mentions this book. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am interested in books about baseball, even if they are children's books, maybe even especially if they are children's books. When I got to the story's third two-page illustration (page 7), with a grim Zeni in the forefront while roiling maroon war-clouds swirl in the background, I was nudged by how familiar Before reading Michael Cunningham's A Wild Swan: And Other Tales, I noted the bio of its artist, Yuko Shimizu, on the outer flap: it mentions this book. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am interested in books about baseball, even if they are children's books, maybe even especially if they are children's books. When I got to the story's third two-page illustration (page 7), with a grim Zeni in the forefront while roiling maroon war-clouds swirl in the background, I was nudged by how familiar the art seemed. Not until I finished the book and then looked up the artist's website did I realize I first saw her work on the covers of the graphic series that starts with The Unwritten, Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity. I should've realized and I can only excuse myself by saying I'm not really a visual person. Kenichi Zenimura is now considered the father of Japanese baseball. Barely five-feet tall, he'd become a star player in Fresno (California) leagues; been chosen to play in exhibitions with Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth, as well as organizing a 1934 tour to Japan for Ruth. After Pearl Harbor, Zeni, his wife and two sons were forced into one of the interment camps in the Arizona desert. There they had to stay, for four long years. This book is the story of how Zeni built a real baseball field within the camp's confines, including bleachers that sat 6000 fans. Anyone who has experienced the thrill of walking into a baseball stadium will understand how it felt when the project was completed. The power Zeni must've felt as he finally hit the ball for the first time on his own playing field is depicted in one perfect picture. As he rounds the bases, his joy is now in the forefront of swirling clouds, this time of white. Zenimura, with Gehrig on one side and Ruth on the other, is the man in the middle:

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dov Zeller

    Marissa Moss once again scripts a great kids picture book about a relatively unknown historical player and not-adequately-honored cultural hero. She and Yuko Shimizu team up on this one and hit it almost out of the ball-park. I'll start with what I like about this book.The art is gorgeous. The story is captivating. Kenichi Zenimura aka Zeni's early determination to play baseball is, seemingly, indomitable and Moss seems to really relish the fabulist nature of the tale. Things that could be huge Marissa Moss once again scripts a great kids picture book about a relatively unknown historical player and not-adequately-honored cultural hero. She and Yuko Shimizu team up on this one and hit it almost out of the ball-park. I'll start with what I like about this book.The art is gorgeous. The story is captivating. Kenichi Zenimura aka Zeni's early determination to play baseball is, seemingly, indomitable and Moss seems to really relish the fabulist nature of the tale. Things that could be huge obstacles seem to melt in Zeni's presence like snowflakes on a hot sidewalk. Zeni, as he is called throughout the book, the "father of Japanese American baseball", is thrown one of his biggest curve balls just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when he and his family are sent to an interment camp. After his internment, the book documents, page after page, his dogged construction of a playing field in the camp. Once again, seemingly daunting obstacles are easily overcome, and Zeni oversees the building of field, bleachers, the ordering of uniforms. He organizes a whole, spirited culture of baseball in the camp and likely improved the quality of life for a lot of people. (I can't help but wonder if there was any room for girls in this league.) What do I have to complain about? Mainly this: we don't really understand from the story what is emotionally and otherwise at stake here. It's pretty happy go lucky all the way though, maybe even a little pollyanna, and while I don't think a kid's picture book is the place to stress the horrors of internment, there's just something a little too singularly focused in here. It makes me think of a soup that is lacking some grounding, earthy element. It works okay, but some ingredient is needed to bring out its fullness. Another goodreads reviewer had a similar response to the book and recommends "Baseball Saved Us" as an alternative or complement. I look forward to reading it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alex Baugh

    From the time he was a young boy and saw his first baseball game, Kenochi "Zeni" Zenimura wanted to play baseball - he wanted that more than anything. And he was well on his way towards living his dream when he was old enough, managing local teams and playing with the Fresno Nisei League and the Fresno Twilight League, going to exhibition games in Japan, even playing with star players of the New York Yankees. It seemed Zeni was on top of the world, at least until December 7, 1941 when Japan atta From the time he was a young boy and saw his first baseball game, Kenochi "Zeni" Zenimura wanted to play baseball - he wanted that more than anything. And he was well on his way towards living his dream when he was old enough, managing local teams and playing with the Fresno Nisei League and the Fresno Twilight League, going to exhibition games in Japan, even playing with star players of the New York Yankees. It seemed Zeni was on top of the world, at least until December 7, 1941 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. By now married with two teenage sons, Zeni and his family were forced to move to an internment camp just because they were of Japanese descent. Located on the Gila River Indian Reservation, it was hot and dry desert with too many people crowded into barrack after barrack, each containing row upon row of cots. While families tried to make a home out of their allotted space, putting up curtains and decorating with all kinds of personal mementos, Zeni still dreamed about baseball and decided he was going to play - right in the desert! And so he picked a spot and began to clear the grass and rocks, hard work in the desert heat. Yet before he knew it, others joined in to help, including his own sons. Using his ingenuity, his power of persuasion and any other means possible, little by little, Zeni and his helpers began to turn the desert into a baseball field, right down to bleaches for people to sit and watch games. And while the men worked on building a field, the women sewed uniforms out of potato sacks. Lastly, equipment was purchased with funds collected from among the detainees. Barbed Wire Baseball is an excellent introduction to both Japanese American baseball and the internment of Japanese American in World War II. Marissa Moss gives the same attention to detail in her text that Zeni gave to creating his baseball field. And the beautiful illustrations by Yuko Shimizu bring the whole story together. This is the first children's book that Shimizu has illustrated and for it, she used a Japanese calligraphy brush and ink, than scanned and colored the illustrations with Photoshop, so that the colors give a real sense of the time. At the end of Barbed Wire Baseball, there is an Afterword about Kenichi Zenimura life, as well as an Author's Note and an Artist's Note, which you may not want to miss reading. Moss has also included an useful Bibliography for further exploration of Japanese American baseball. I had never heard of Kenochi Zenimura before, probably because I'm not much of a baseball person, but I really was impressed with his perseverance and dedication to creating a place where he and his fellow detainees could enjoy playing or watching baseball in an otherwise desolate place and that would give them all a sense of accomplishment and community. And having lived in Phoenix, AZ for 4 years and being somewhat familiar with the desert around it, I really understood what an accomplishment it was. This book is a Picture Book for Older Readers and is recommeded for readers age 7+ This book was borrowed from the NYPL This book was orginally reviewed at The Children's War

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ann

    Kenichi Zenimura fell in love with baseball as a boy, moving to Fresno in 1920 to pursue his dreams of playing with the pros. But after Pearl Harbor, Zeni and his family were sent to an internment camp, imprisoned without trial. Moss tells the story of how Zeni organized baseball teams in the camps, bringing his fierce sense of hope and justice to the hardships Japanese Americans faced during WW2.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Richie Partington

    Richie's Picks: BARBED WIRE BASEBALL by Marissa Moss and Yuko Shimizu, ill., Abrams, April 2013, 48p., ISBN: 978-1-4197-0521-2 Dateline: July 4, 2013 "Despite their widespread national pride, Americans evince a much more negative response when asked if the signers of the Declaration of Independence would be pleased or disappointed by the way the United States has turned out. Seventy-one percent of Americans say the signers would be disappointed, while 27% say they would be pleased." -- from Gallu Richie's Picks: BARBED WIRE BASEBALL by Marissa Moss and Yuko Shimizu, ill., Abrams, April 2013, 48p., ISBN: 978-1-4197-0521-2 Dateline: July 4, 2013 "Despite their widespread national pride, Americans evince a much more negative response when asked if the signers of the Declaration of Independence would be pleased or disappointed by the way the United States has turned out. Seventy-one percent of Americans say the signers would be disappointed, while 27% say they would be pleased." -- from Gallup.com "Got a beat-up glove, a homemade bat, a brand-new pair of shoes You know I think it's time to give this game a ride. Just to hit the ball and touch 'em all -- a moment in the sun; (pop) It's gone and you can tell that one goodbye!" -- John Fogerty, "Centerfield" "Turner went out to the street, looked at the green shutters of Mrs. Hurd's house, and walked back to the parsonage. The sea breeze, wearing its overcoat, followed him all the way until he closed the door on it. Then it tipped up into the sky and spread out, looking for a maple it could scorch or a beech it could blanch. It found the maple and went about its business, so that if Turner had looked out his front door, he might have seen the maple just past First Congregational shiver some and then coldly begin to burn into reds. "But he didn't look out. He went up to his room and listened to the clicking of the typewriter from his father's study, and he thought about sunlight shutters and strawberry doors and Mrs. Hurd and baseballs hit higher than the dome of the Massachusetts State House and Lizzie Bright, and he suddenly knew that he needed to find a way back to Malaga Island." -- from another book that incorporates baseball and historical American ignorance, LIZZIE BRIGHT AND THE BUCKMINSTER BOY by Gary D. Schmidt "First he would need a playing field. There was plenty of empty space, but it was dotted with sagebrush and clotted with rocks." Sometimes, I feel like a broken record. (Some might wonder, given the diminishing amount of new music on vinyl, whether today's kids have an understanding of that saying. But, actually, thanks to the popularity of glitch hop, plenty of them do.) Picture books for older readers are so where it is at. Here's an exceptionally-engaging, well-researched, eye-catching, American history lesson, an excellent piece of nonfiction with a lexile level of 800 (perfect, by that measure, for typical fourth and fifth grade students), that will have young readers doing some real thinking and asking questions about the wisdom and manner in which America has behaved in the past. I was a damned good student, and I loved American history. That I never, as a child, heard of the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII was not a result of my randomly being home with the flu on a day this topic was discussed at school. No, this was a topic that was not part of the curriculum, nor mentioned in the textbooks employed in my schools during the sixties and early seventies when I was growing up on Long Island. And I would begin my argument that the Founding Fathers would be quite proud of the way America has turned out -- however belatedly -- by citing the increasing openness over recent generations of America to look at and discuss how badly the white men in charge during the first couple of centuries behaved toward those who were female, Native American, black, Asian, non-Christian or, heaven forbid, gay. The changes that have been wrought in my lifetime, both in moving toward liberty and equality for all, and in our increasingly open discussion of how badly the country repeatedly screwed up in its treatment of so many people, makes me pleased to be part of the American experiment and certain that Tom, Ben, and John (who were signers), as well as George and James and Abigail (who were not signers) would all be blown away in a good way by what they found today. I love BARBED WIRE BASEBALL. You have an unlikely hero, a guy barely five feet tall, born in Japan, who loves baseball, gets to meet and play exhibition games with the Babe and the Iron Horse (Ruth and Gehrig), and eventually ends up -- like 110,000 other Japanese-Americans -- in one of those internment camps in the desert. But Kenichi "Zeni" Zenimura became a leader of those ill-treated Americans by creating a baseball field and organizing a baseball league in the Gila River detention facility in Arizona where he and his wife and sons were being held. He employs ingenuity and determination to create an amazing baseball field -- one which Turner Buckminster would be excited about -- and then uses the game to create community in this detention camp. You walk away from this book -- as with so many great picture books for older readers being published today -- going, "Whoa! What a great story! Why hadn't I heard of this guy/topic/issue before?" Richie Partington, MLIS Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com BudNotBuddy@aol.com Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_... http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/people/facult...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Nelson

    Intriguing story about the father of Japanese baseball and his life in an internment camp. Fantastic illustrations.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    Barbed Wire Baseball 1)Text-to-World What does this remind you of in the real world? Students should be given a chance to relate this story, based on the real life story of Zenichi Zenimutra to current happenings and past history. Connections could be found with war stories of WWII the students have heard, prison stories, stories of people surviving and thriving during difficult circumstances, and baseball stories. 2)Perspectives and Values: a)Japanese Americans during WWII-Zeni’s family was placed Barbed Wire Baseball 1)Text-to-World What does this remind you of in the real world? Students should be given a chance to relate this story, based on the real life story of Zenichi Zenimutra to current happenings and past history. Connections could be found with war stories of WWII the students have heard, prison stories, stories of people surviving and thriving during difficult circumstances, and baseball stories. 2)Perspectives and Values: a)Japanese Americans during WWII-Zeni’s family was placed in a prison camp at Gila River, Arizona where “he felt he was shrinking into a tiny hard ball” (p. 9); b)Life and feelings in a prison-living within a fence “not allowed outside after dark…guards light swept across the yard” (p. 23) so no one would escape; c)Conquering oppression using what you have, within yourself and around you-“He knew he was still behind a barbed wire fence, but he felt completely free, as airy and light as the ball he had sent flying” (p. 34); d)Even though Zeni was small in stature compared to other big league baseball players “he felt ten feet tall, playing the game he loved so much. Nothing would ever make him feel small again” (p. 36). 3)Remembering: When did the story (based on real events) take place? Applying: If you were imprisoned, even though you were innocent, what could you do to help others imprisoned with you, like Zeni helped his fellow prisoners? Evaluating: Do you think that Japanese Americans should have been imprisoned during WWII? Why do you feel that way? Understanding: How would you characterize Zeni’s actions during his imprisonment? Analyzing: How would you contrast how America felt about and treated Janapese Americans during WWII and now? Creating: Using half the class in the Japanese American roles and half as the prison guards, act out the story.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Marissa Moss does such a wonderful job of presenting little known people who made a big impact on history in some way. She's done it again in sharing the story of Kenichi "Zeni" Zenimura, the "father" of Japanese American baseball. This picture book biography would pair nicely with Kathryn Fitzmaurice's historical fiction title, A Diamond in the Desert. The illustrations, afterword, and bibliography add to the strength of this book. I support independent bookstores. You can use this link to find Marissa Moss does such a wonderful job of presenting little known people who made a big impact on history in some way. She's done it again in sharing the story of Kenichi "Zeni" Zenimura, the "father" of Japanese American baseball. This picture book biography would pair nicely with Kathryn Fitzmaurice's historical fiction title, A Diamond in the Desert. The illustrations, afterword, and bibliography add to the strength of this book. I support independent bookstores. You can use this link to find one near you or order Barbed Wire Baseball on IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/978141...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    The title page with a game ticket, the baseball image on the back echoing the Japanese flag, and the front cover with Japanese writing in the style of Japanese baseball cards from mid-twentieth century complete the package of this well-crafted, inspirational story. The artwork, done with Japanese calligraphy brush and ink, is a perfect match to this story of a man who continued his love of an all-American game while America imprisoned him.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Zeni finds himself behind barbed wire in the Gila River War Relocation Center with his family and other Japanese-Americans during World War II. He decides to build a baseball field in the Arizona desert. The ingenuity this took to "do it right" is inspiring. The book, a true story about a dark point in American history, is actually fun and hopeful. The illustrations capture the feeling of each point in the story. You don't have to love baseball to be a fan of this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    J

    This is a great picture book to use when introducing the U.S. internment of Japanese Americans.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    I spent the better part of last night crying over this book. Zeni was only 5ft, 100 pounds, but he was determined to have the American dream. And it came true because he ended up playing for the Yankees next to Babe Ruth until Pearl Harbor happened. Loyalty didn't matter; anyone of Japanese descent were shipped off to internment camps as possible spies and traitors. Zeni and his family were sent to Gila River Relocation Camp, Arizona. To overcome his malaise, Zeni decided to make the best of it. I spent the better part of last night crying over this book. Zeni was only 5ft, 100 pounds, but he was determined to have the American dream. And it came true because he ended up playing for the Yankees next to Babe Ruth until Pearl Harbor happened. Loyalty didn't matter; anyone of Japanese descent were shipped off to internment camps as possible spies and traitors. Zeni and his family were sent to Gila River Relocation Camp, Arizona. To overcome his malaise, Zeni decided to make the best of it. The desert climate and the barb wires didn't deter him. With the assistance of his sons, he rerouted laundry pipes, took wood from the fencing and watered down dust to clay and made a bonafide baseball field. Women sewed uniforms from potato sacks and the community came together to buy baseball bats, balls and gloves through the mail. Zeni coached, managed and organized many teams from prison. For when he played the game he truly felt free. Years later, in 2006, his descendants received accolades in his place. He was inducted into the Shrine of Eternals located in Cooperstown, New York for making a valuable contribution to baseball. The author's research notes and documents at the end of the book showed how he tried to stay true to the real Kenichi Zenimura. A picture of Zeni next to a towering Babe Ruth survived, although, sadly, none were recovered from his days at Gila River Relocation Camp.

  14. 5 out of 5

    JIll

    Barbed Wire Baseball explores the boredom everybody felt while incarcerated in a Japanese internment camp in Gila River, Arizona during World War II. This diverse picture book for younger readers is written in a third person perspective. Kenichi Zenimura (Zeni) is a Japanese father who is living at the internment camp with his family. Zeni and his two teenage sons, Howard and Harvey build a baseball diamond and bleachers to play baseball to occupy their time and normalize their lives and make th Barbed Wire Baseball explores the boredom everybody felt while incarcerated in a Japanese internment camp in Gila River, Arizona during World War II. This diverse picture book for younger readers is written in a third person perspective. Kenichi Zenimura (Zeni) is a Japanese father who is living at the internment camp with his family. Zeni and his two teenage sons, Howard and Harvey build a baseball diamond and bleachers to play baseball to occupy their time and normalize their lives and make the situation bearable.. The major conflicts of the story are against nature, the challenge of creating a baseball diamond in the desert and a conflict with society of being locked up in an internment camp. This is a lighthearted story hints at the unjust situation and tries to make the situation bearable. The depth of the conflicts are appropriate for young readers, and the characters are likable. However, character development is minimal and the action is slow and predictable. Lastly, I would recommend this book for young readers who are learning about the plight of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    As a boy, Kenichi “Zeni” Zenimura dreams of playing professional baseball, but everyone tells him he is too small. Yet he grows up to be a successful player, playing with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig! When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor in 1941, Zeni and his family are sent to one of ten internment camps where more than 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry are imprisoned without trials. Zeni brings the game of baseball to the camp, along with a sense of hope. This true story, set in a Japanese inter As a boy, Kenichi “Zeni” Zenimura dreams of playing professional baseball, but everyone tells him he is too small. Yet he grows up to be a successful player, playing with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig! When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor in 1941, Zeni and his family are sent to one of ten internment camps where more than 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry are imprisoned without trials. Zeni brings the game of baseball to the camp, along with a sense of hope. This true story, set in a Japanese internment camp during World War II, introduces children to a little-discussed part of American history through Marissa Moss’s rich text and Yuko Shimizu’s beautiful illustrations. The book includes author and illustrator notes, archival photographs, and a bibliography. As always a good historical fiction separates the history from the fiction and the author does a nice job at the end of the book of filling in the details of a long ago historical period that most would like to forget happened. It seemed to drag in the details of making the ball field, but came together well in the end.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Lee

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I found a text-to-text in "Barbed Wire Baseball" by Marissa Moss. While I can't remember the name of the book I am thinking of, I remember learning about World War II in middle school. Our history book for that year mentioned a lot of things about the Japanese camps when America went to war with Japan. I remember being very sad and surprised by this because I had only heard of the concentration camps for Jews in Germany during that time. However, the text did mention that the Japanese would try I found a text-to-text in "Barbed Wire Baseball" by Marissa Moss. While I can't remember the name of the book I am thinking of, I remember learning about World War II in middle school. Our history book for that year mentioned a lot of things about the Japanese camps when America went to war with Japan. I remember being very sad and surprised by this because I had only heard of the concentration camps for Jews in Germany during that time. However, the text did mention that the Japanese would try to find ways to keep themselves busy and happy while imprisoned: but my history book didn't mention anyone building a baseball field like Zeni built in the camp he was sent to! I didn't know how much the Japanese would be able to do something like build a baseball diamond. I find it very interesting how much history there is in the world that is unknown and not in history books. I would have found that class a bit more interesting if our history book included the story of Zeni and his baseball diamond! :)

  17. 4 out of 5

    AMY

    39 pgs. Great story about a Japanese baseball player in California during WWII. His family was rounded up and sent to an internment camp. The struggles he endured and pride he felt for his favorite sport were inspiring. I think this book would be a great one to use with a history unit on WWII. The illustrations are very different from most art styles. I think the art captures the emotion of the situation well with colors, texture and perspective. There is additional information at the end that w 39 pgs. Great story about a Japanese baseball player in California during WWII. His family was rounded up and sent to an internment camp. The struggles he endured and pride he felt for his favorite sport were inspiring. I think this book would be a great one to use with a history unit on WWII. The illustrations are very different from most art styles. I think the art captures the emotion of the situation well with colors, texture and perspective. There is additional information at the end that will add to the depth of this topic. This book has won many awards and I would highly recommend it to Grade 5 students.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Davidson

    This is the true story of Kenichi Zenimura - known as Zeni - who was born in Japan but moved to Hawaii with his parents when he was 8 years old. There, the first time he saw a baseball game Zuri knew he wanted to be a baseball player. Years later, even though he was a small man he made the team. Unfortunately, after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, Zuri and 120,000 other Japanese Americans were forced into internement camps. There Zuri made a way to continue playing ball. Great story and i This is the true story of Kenichi Zenimura - known as Zeni - who was born in Japan but moved to Hawaii with his parents when he was 8 years old. There, the first time he saw a baseball game Zuri knew he wanted to be a baseball player. Years later, even though he was a small man he made the team. Unfortunately, after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, Zuri and 120,000 other Japanese Americans were forced into internement camps. There Zuri made a way to continue playing ball. Great story and illustrations.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cory Guthrie

    This may be a very good way to cover the fact that the Nazis weren't the only people who had prison camps during world war II which of course the Americans did after the attack on Pearl Harbor and it didn't exclude the famous baseball players or anyone with his decent which is something I never considered and honestly my teachers told me oh America didn't treat Japanese people different after the attack up util eighth grade which is when I found out about them.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nole

    I loved this book. I think that our hero is an inspiration to all those that were told they were to small to achieve what they wanted which is a common thing most students will have experienced. This is also a great story to show making the best of your situation and lastly a History lesson to discuss 1940's America.

  21. 4 out of 5

    The Reading Countess

    A Japanese internment camp becomes a beacon of hope when a baseball field, players in crisp uniforms, and a stand full of cheering fans mimic normalcy. In a world spinning out of control then, as now, we look for the helpers. Hopeful, yet still punching you in the gut for what should have never been.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin M.

    This book is about a Japanese-American Zeni who loves the game of baseball but is taken to a Japanese Internment camp when America joins the Second Word War. I thought this book was great, I really liked the message of you can make something good out of a bad situation like making a baseball field and playing a game of baseball in a internment camp

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jo Oehrlein

    The story of a Japanese-American man who played baseball. After he and his family were sent to an internment camp, he rallied his family and the camp together to build a baseball field and setup a league. He gave the people a sense of purpose and normalcy in a time when nothing else was normal.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Roger

    Field of Dreams? This is the real deal. A prisoner in an American internment camp built a baseball diamond and kept hope alive for himself, his family and the other prisoners. Excellent illustrations as well.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gwen - Chew & Digest Books -

    This is just one of the shameful parts of American history and what better way to approach it from the baseball angle for kids that already love baseball. It's a perfect example of never giving up, no matter the circumstances and is full of interesting side facts as well. Kudos!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    A story about how a Japanese-American man and his family made the best out of the interment camp they were staying in. He created his own baseball field in the camp and they spent their time playing there every day.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    What a fascinating story!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Miche Eriaku

    It is an interesting Narrative Nonfiction book about A famous baseball player called Zeni.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Recounts the story of a Japanese American man who so loved baseball that he built a field and organized games in an internment camp in Arizona.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nichole

    Beautiful illustrations and a fascinating story.

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