cover image A Scarf for Keiko

A Scarf for Keiko

Ann Malaspina, illus. by Merrilee Liddiard. Kar-Ben, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5415-2164-3

Sam is struggling to knit. His classmates are making warm things for the soldiers fighting overseas in WWII, Sam’s brother Mike among them. Meanwhile, Japanese families in the boy’s California neighborhood are being persecuted because they’re suspected of ties to the enemy. Other classmates shun his Japanese classmate, Keiko, and though Sam remembers that Mike was kind to her, Sam still retreats into excuses (“I didn’t talk to her,” he tells a classmate. “She talked to me”). When Sam hears that Keiko and her family are being sent to an internment camp, learning how to knit suddenly assumes new importance: “The desert where Keiko was going would be cold at night.” Malaspina (Heart on Fire: Susan B. Anthony Votes for President) tells her story with care as Sam’s Jewish family, themselves a marginalized group, discuss what the war is doing to their family and friends the world over: “They’re good Americans, and the best neighbors,” Sam’s mother says about Keiko’s family. Illustrations by Liddiard (Playful: Fun Projects to Make With + For Kids) in muted blues and sepias recreate period details such as Sam’s pressed wool trousers. A rich source for discussion, both about outward political oppression and the inward struggle to behave honorably amid it. Ages 5–10. [em](Feb.) [/em]