We'll periodically have special story times with cast members of current shows. We'll also be recommending perfect book companions with each show's big ideas. These recommended books will be 20% off at Green Bean Books while each show is running!
Next up is The Journal of Ben Uchida: Citizen 13559.
About the show
In 1942, 12-year-old Ben Uchida and his family are forcibly removed from their home in San Francisco and imprisoned at Mirror Lake, an American concentration camp, along with hundreds of thousands of other Japanese-American families. In this unfamiliar place, removed from everything he once knew, Ben’s emotional journey is even more upsetting than his physical one.
Originally commissioned by the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, this play details—with anger, despair, sadness, and hope—a dark chapter in this country’s history; it tells a story that is relevant, moving, and one that cannot be forgotten.
Ages 10 and up
This show uses historically accurate language (from the 1940s/WWII), including racial slurs, and bias-motivated violence. Additionally, the play contains visual imagery and indirect references to suicide in the concentration camp. The word suicide is not used in the play, nor is the act dramatized or seen on stage.
The Journal of Ben Uchida: Citizen 13559
February 29–March 22, 2020
Saturdays at 2pm & 5pm
Sundays at 11am & 2pm
Fridays 3/6 & 3/13 at 7pm
Runtime: 60 minutes
Winningstad Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway
Ticket prices starting at $15
For show info and to get your tickets now, click here.
Check out our curated list of 10 books related to themes in the play.
The Big Ideas
Hearing personal stories are a powerful way to learn about painful historical events.
Remembering family and relationships can help in difficult times.
Learning about your family’s history and culture is important.
These books will be 20% off during the run of the play.
by Ken Mochizuki
iluustrated by Dom Lee
Shorty and his family, along with thousands of Japanese Americans, are sent to an internment camp after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Fighting the heat and dust of the desert, Shorty and his father decide to build a baseball diamond and form a league in order to boost the spirits of the internees. Shorty quickly learns that he is playing not only to win, but to gain dignity and self-respect as well.
Baseball Saved Us is the ultimate rite of passage story. It will appeal again and again to readers who enjoy cheering for the underdog.
by Eve Bunting
illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet
Laura Iwasaki and her family are paying what may be their last visit to Laura's grandfather's grave. The grave is at Manzanar, where thousands of Americans of Japanese heritage were interned during World War II. Among those rounded up and taken to the internment camp were Laura's father, then a small boy, and his parents. Now Laura says goodbye to Grandfather in her own special way, with a gesture that crosses generational lines and bears witness to the patriotism that survived a shameful episode in America's history. Eve Bunting's poignant text and Chris K. Soentpiet's detailed, evocative paintings make the story of this family's visit to Manzanar, and of the memories stirred by the experience, one that will linger in readers' minds and hearts.
by Yoshiko Uchida
illustrated by Joanna Yardley
In 1942, during the war with Japan, a Japanese-American girl must leave her home. She receives a good-bye gift from her best friend, but loses it at her new home. Emi is afraid that without the bracelet Laurie will disappear from her mind forever. Warm watercolor paintings beautifully complement this story of the power of memory.
by Laurie Ann Thompson
illustrated by Sean Qualls
Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah's inspiring true story—which was turned into a film, Emmanuel's Gift, narrated by Oprah Winfrey—is nothing short of remarkable.
Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most people—but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled.
Thompson's lyrical prose and Qualls's bold collage illustrations offer a powerful celebration of triumphing over adversity.
Includes an author's note with more information about Emmanuel's charity.
by Il Sung Na
Even pigs can learn to fly: Once, there was a pig who admired birds. But he could never join them. Or could he? Thus begins the journey of a pig with big dreams, and the perseverance to make them come true. He develops flight plans, builds experimental contraptions, and has far-flung adventures, but at the end of the day, his favorite thing to do is sit and watch for those he loves best: birds.
Il Sung Na creates a world at once whimsical and aspirational, where anything is possible and, yes, even pigs can learn to fly.
by Cynthia Kadohata
A Japanese-American family, reeling from their ill treatment in the Japanese internment camps, gives up their American citizenship to move back to Hiroshima, unaware of the devastation wreaked by the atomic bomb in this piercing look at the aftermath of World War II by Newbery Medalist Cynthia Kadohata.
World War II has ended, but while America has won the war, twelve-year-old Hanako feels lost. To her, the world, and her world, seems irrevocably broken.
America, the only home she’s ever known, imprisoned then rejected her and her family—and thousands of other innocent Americans—because of their Japanese heritage, because Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Japan, the country they’ve been forced to move to, the country they hope will be the family’s saving grace, where they were supposed to start new and better lives, is in shambles because America dropped bombs of their own—one on Hiroshima unlike any other in history. And Hanako’s grandparents live in a small village just outside the ravaged city.
The country is starving, the black markets run rampant, and countless orphans beg for food on the streets, but how can Hanako help them when there is not even enough food for her own brother?
Hanako feels she could crack under the pressure, but just because something is broken doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed. Cracks can make room for gold, her grandfather explains when he tells her about the tradition of kintsukuroi—fixing broken objects with gold lacquer, making them stronger and more beautiful than ever. As she struggles to adjust to find her place in a new world, Hanako will find that the gold can come in many forms, and family may be hers.
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Ada and her younger brother, Jamie, now have a permanent home with their loving legal guardian, Susan Smith. Although Jamie adapts more easily, Ada still struggles with the aftermath of her old life, and how to fit into her new life.
World War II continues, and forces the small community to come together and rely on one another. Ada has never been interested in getting to know her friend’s family—especially Maggie’s mother, the formidable Lady Thorton. However, circumstances bring them in close proximity along with other unexpected characters.
Ada comes face to face with another German! This time she isn’t sure what she should do. How can she help the ones she loves and keep them safe?
Ada’s first story, The War that Saved My Life, won a Newbery Honor, the Schneider Family Book Award, and the Josette Frank Award, in addition to appearing on multiple best-of-the-year lists. This second, marvelous volume continues Ada’s powerful, uplifting story.
by Andrea Davis Pinkney
illustrated by Shane W. Evans
Finally, Amira is twelve. Old enough to wear a toob, old enough for new responsibilities. And maybe old enough to go to school in Nyala--Amira's one true dream.
But life in her peaceful Sudanese village is shattered when the Janjaweed arrive. The terrifying attackers ravage the town and unleash unspeakable horrors. After she loses nearly everything, Amira needs to dig deep within herself to find the strength to make the long journey--on foot--to safety at a refugee camp. Her days are tough at the camp, until the gift of a simple red pencil opens her mind--and all kinds of possibilities.
New York Times bestselling and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney's powerful verse and Coretta Scott King Award-winning artist Shane W. Evans's breathtaking illustrations combine to tell an inspiring tale of one girl's triumph against all odds.
by Linda Sue Park
A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about a girl in Sudan in 2008 and a boy in Sudan in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.
by Molly Bang
A beautifully illustrated retelling of an ancient Japanese folktale by Molly Bang.
A mysterious man enters a restaurant and pays for his dinner with a paper crane that magically comes alive and dances.
The Paper Crane is illustrated with cut-paper collages and paintings. It is a wonderful book to use with children learning about patterns in storytelling.