by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston & James Houston | Grades: 7-12 | Ages: 12+
About Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston & James Houston
During World War II a community called Manzanar was created in the high mountain desert country of California. Its purpose was to house thousands of Japanese Americans. Among them was the Wakatsuki family, who were ordered to leave their fishing business in Long Beach and take with them only the belongings they could carry. Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, who was seven years old when she arrived at Manzanar in 1942, recalls life in the camp through the eyes of the child she was.
"A poignant memoir from a Japanese American. . . . Told without bitterness, her story reflects the triumph of the human spirit during an extraordinary episode in American history." --Library Journal
"[Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston] describes vividly the life in the camp and the humiliations suffered by the detainees... A sober and moving personal account." --Publishers Weekly
"[This] book provides an often vivid, impressionistic picture of how the forced isolation affected the internees. All in all, a dramatic, telling account of one of the most reprehensible events in the history of America's treatment of its minorities." --New York Times
Biographical Notes About the Houstons
Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston (1934 - ) was born in Inglewood, California. She studied sociology and journalism at San Jose State University, where she met her husband and cowriter of her memoir Farewell to Manzanar, James D. Houston. For their teleplay for the NBC television drama based on Farewell to Manzanar, they received the prestigious Humanitas Prize. Jeanne's widely anthologized essays and short stories were first collected in Beyond Manzanar: Views of Asian American Womanhood. Her works have earned numerous honors, including a United States-Japan Cultural Exchange Fellowship; a Rockefeller Foundation residence at Bellagio, Italy; and a 1984 Wonder Woman Award, given to women over forty who have made outstanding achievements in pursuit of truth and positive social change.
James D. Houston (1933-2009) was the author of several novels and nonfiction works exploring the history and cultures of the western United States and the Asia/Pacific region. His works include Snow Mountain Passage, Continental Drift, In the Ring of Fire: A Pacific Basin Journey, and The Last Paradise, which received a 1999 American Book Award for fiction. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford, Jim received a National Endowment for the Arts writing grant, a Library of Congress Story Award, and traveled to Asia lecturing for the U.S.I.S. Arts America program.