Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki, illustrated by Dom Lee, is also good as an introduction to the issue of internment camps. The focus is on one boy's experience of playing baseball while imprisoned, what that does for him later, and how he is motivated and strengthened. The kids cheered at the end of this simple and uplifting book.
We headed back to the Netherlands for The Greatest Skating Raceby Louise Borden (illustrated by Niki Daly) and I think the kids were relieved to leave the oppressiveness of the internment camp books behind (except Anne, who was reading Farewell to Manzanar on her own.) This book was delightful, and reminded us of our favorite van Stockum books, as well as of the resourceful kids in Snow Treasure. Ten-year-old Piet must help two young friends skate to freedom in Belgium. In the process, he realizes that an enormous personal dream is within his grasp. A great read.
The Yellow Star, The Legend of King Christian X by Carmen Agra Deedy and Henri Sorensen, is another uplifting, and gorgeously illustrated book. This one has received several negative reviews, because it is not an historically accurate work. In reality, King Christian of Denmark did not don a yellow star and encourage all of his subjects to do so, as he does in this book. I disagree, however, with the objections to the book on this account, as the author makes it clear that this is a legend. As such, it was fuel for a great discussion about what legends are and why they spring up. Anne and Betsy were reminded of Lois Lowry's Number the Stars, which depicts King Christian as a greatly loved and respected leader. The Legend of King Christian X left the girls with what I think the author intended: the question, "What if?" What if a leader were really willing to do such a thing? What if I were willing? Am I?