Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Diary of Piper Davis: The Fences Between Us by Kirby Larson

The Fences Between Us: The Diary of Piper Davis, Seattle, Washington, 1941 (Dear America)The Fences Between Us: The Diary of Piper Davis, Seattle, Washington, 1941 by Kirby Larson

The blurb:
My name is Pipe.  This is my story. . .
One fateful day in December 191, Piper Davis awaits news of her brother, a soldier on the battleship Arizona stationed in Pearl Harbor.  Explosions rule the earth and sky, and Piper wonders what will become of her brother, and of her life in Seattle, as rationing and blackness take hold.  Soon, Piper is greeted by another grim situation. . . the incarceration of her Japanese neighbors.

Piper's father, a pastor for a Japanese Baptist church, decides to follow his congregation when they are sent to an incarceration camp, bringing Piper along with him.  She resents being uprooted, but as she learns bout teh heartbreaking realities of war, Piper begins to understand that she has the power to make a difference.

The Diary of Piper Davis tells us the story of a young girl growing up in Seattle during World War II.  Her mother died when she was a baby, so Piper was largely raised by her father, older sister Margaret, and her big brother Hank.  When we first encounter Piper, she's very much a regular teenager.  She and her best friend share secrets, go on double dates, and worry about Piper's brother Hank when he enlists in the Navy.

The bombing of Pearl Harbor brings out unexpected hostility against the Japanese American students and those that speak out in their defense.  Piper's father is not afraid to defend Japanese Americans and Piper soon finds herself in the strange position of having being disparaged as Pro-Japanese just as her brother is fighting the Japanese in the Pacific. Piper goes from being uncomfortable at the meanness directed towards her Japanese classmates to slowly seeing just how the Japanese are isolated and taken advantage of.  Piper's empathy and sense of fairness lead her to some unpopular actions - and unforgettable experiences during one of the most difficult times in US history.

The Diary of Piper Davis: The Fences Between Us captures a young girl's point of view - her concerns, her sense of fairness, and her growing awareness of the world around her.  In her gentle way, Piper makes a big difference in the lives of the Japanese Americans that she befriends.  We read how seemingly small things make a difference.  Historically accurate and deeply compelling, The Diary of Piper Davis will supplement a young person's understanding of the impact of World War II in America.  Kirby Larson tackles the unconstitutional incarceration of Americans of Japanese descent during World War II with exceptional sensitivity and humor.

Ages 8 and up.
ISBN-10: 0545224187 - Hardcover $12.99
Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 Reprint edition (September 1, 2010), 320 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

About the Author, in her own words:
Kirby Larson was born at Fort Lawton Army Hospital in Seattle and hasn't moved very far from there since. When she was a senior in high school, she got into an argument with a guy in the school library. Four years later, they were married. They have a son, Tyler, who lives in Brooklyn and works in film and TV; a daughter, Quinn, who is a terrific interior designer  and a son-in-law, Matt.

No comments:

Post a Comment