Editorial Review

School Library Connection

Cover: A Scarf for Keiko

“It’s 1942 in Los Angeles and Sam’s older brother, Mike, is fighting in the war. Sam and his classmates are knitting socks for soldiers, but Sam is a terrible knitter. However, his Japanese American neighbor, Keiko, can easily produce a perfect pair of socks. Keiko is in Sam’s class and lives in his neighborhood, and she is being mistreated everywhere because she is Japanese. His classmates are encouraging Jack to ignore her too. Jack remembers that Mike liked Keiko, and his Jewish parents are sympathetic to Keiko and her family when they realize Japanese people will be sent to live in camps due to suspicion that they may be spies. Jack gives up on knitting and writes Mike an apology for not being able to send him some socks. Keiko drops out of school and her family packs up to leave, but not before they entrust their family tea set to Jack’s family and Keiko knits a pair of socks for Mike, which she leaves (along with her bicycle) for Jack. Keiko’s acts of kindness, in spite of the racial and ethnic intolerance she faces, strikes a chord with Jack, and he responds by knitting a simple scarf to send to Keiko because he thinks she is facing an uncomfortable winter in the desert. Merrilee Liddiard provides simple illustrations done in sepia tones and muted blues that provide specific period details to support the book’s historical setting. A two-page Author’s Note with photographs and straightforward information about the national atmosphere that resulted in the political and social oppression of Japanese Americans at the time resonates with today’s immigration crisis. This is a title that will help students make connections and come to their own ethical conclusions. Recommended”―School Library Connection

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A Scarf for Keiko
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