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Tomi was born in Hawaii. His grandfather and parents were born in Japan, and came to America to escape poverty.
World War II seems far away from Tomi and his friends, who are too busy playing ball on their eighth-grade team, the Rats.
But then Pearl Harbor is attacked by the Japanese, and the United States declares war on Japan. Japanese men are rounded up, and Tomi’s father and grandfather are arrested. It’s a terrifying time to be Japanese in America. But one thing doesn’t change: the loyalty of Tomi’s buddies, the Rats.
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Graham Salisbury writes from the heart and draws on his own experiences of growing up in Hawaii. His drive to write about the emotional journey that kids must take to become adults in a challenging and complicated world is evident through his work. Says the author: "I've thought a lot about what my job is, or should be, as an author of books for young readers. I don't write to teach, preach, lecture, or criticize, but to explore. . . . And if my stories show [characters] choosing certain life options, and the possible consequences of having chosen those options, then maybe I will have finally done something worthwhile. Wonder of wonders."
Salisbury has already done something worthwhile. His first novel, Blue Skin of the Sea, won the PEN/Norma Klein Award, the Bank Street Child Study Award, and the Parents' Choice Book Award, and was selected as an NCTE Notable Trade book in the Language Arts, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.
His second novel, Under the Blood-Red Sun has won the prestigious Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, the 1998 Hawaii Nene Award, as well as numerous other honors. This powerful and poignant book is the moving story of a Japanese American boy caught in the aftermath of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Shark Bait is a fast-paced, exciting action story that explores the lure of violence and its consequences for a boy and his friends when a Saturday night tumult stuns a Hawaiian village. To read a letter to educators and hear an excerpt from the book, along with pronunciations of the unusual words and character names from the novel, click here.
The most recent novel from Salisbury, Lord of the Deep, enticingly combines the high action of fishing with a narrative that delves into the intricate relationship between a 13-year-old boy and his new stepfather.
Born in Hawaii, Graham Salisbury is a descendant of the Thurston and Andrews families, who were among the first missionaries to arrive in the Hawaiian Islands. He grew up on the islands of Oahu and Hawaii. Later, he graduated from California State University and received an MFA degree from Vermont College of Norwich University. Salisbury has worked as the skipper of a glass-bottomed boat, as a deckhand on a deep-sea fishing boat, as a musician, and also as an elementary school teacher. Today, he lives with his family in Portland, Oregon, where he manages a historic office building.
From the Hardcover edition.
Gr. 5-9. Salisbury captures the dilemma of the Japanese who lived in Hawaii during World War II through the narrator, Tomi, born in Hawaii, and his Japanese parents, who had escaped the poverty of Japan, only to find themselves enmeshed in a war they are unprepared to fight. As tensions between Japan and the U.S. mount, eighth-grader Tomi finds himself more and more the target of his classmates' and neighbors' suspicions. Well aware of the increasing tension between native islanders and Japanese immigrants, Tomi desperately tries to tone down his grandfather's displays of nationalistic and family pride, a job the boy finds distasteful (he, too, loves the stories of his ancestors), yet horrifyingly necessary. Neither his grandfather nor the rest of the family can ignore the seriousness of the situation after the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. On a baseball field when the first planes fly over, Tomi and his best friend, Billy, climb a nearby tree to escape the strafing and to see what is happening. Salisbury spares few details--the fear, the horror, the sounds, the smells all envelop the reader as they do the characters. And so do the grief and shame. The Japanese embarrassment is palatable, and, of course, life is never the same again. Tomi's father is eventually deported to a U.S. prison camp; his mother loses her job; and his little sister is so traumatized that she refuses to leave the house. The action-packed novel focuses on the Japanese American perspective during World War II; yet, there are few real villains here. The author subtly reveals the natural suspicions of the Americans and the equally natural bewilderment of the Japanese immigrants when they suddenly become the personification of the enemy. It is a tribute to the writer's craft that, though there are no easy answers in the story, there is empathy for both cultures. For an equally impressive view of the Japanese American experience during the war, see Stanley, below. Frances Bradburn
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Book Description Yearling. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0440411394 . Seller Inventory # Z0440411394ZN
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