Displacement is simply incredible. This story follows a young girl, Kiku, living in San Fransisco who has been making small efforts to connect with her Japanese American descent, when suddenly, Kiku begins to be whisked away in time and place—what she calls being “displaced”—and she realizes she is being pulled into the time of Japanese American incarceration during WWII. These displacements keep happening, until suddenly, Kiku is trapped in the past. She is displaced into a Japanese incarceration camp, and must learn to live during this terrible time and place for her fellow Japanese Americans, without knowing if she’ll ever return. This graphic novel is so quietly powerful and so superbly genius in the way it tells the story. Kiku discusses these displacements and how horrifying it is to be taken from her home and unsure of when she’ll ever get back—which functions as a perfect allegory to the very experience of those Japanese Americans who were taken from their homes and their lives wrongfully, without knowing where they were going or how long they’d be there. It connects the reader to this painful, real experience in an amazing way. This graphic novel is also deeply educational, taking you through many facets and details of the experience of those Japanese Americans who lived through these camps, while also pointing out how limited public education is around this terrible part of our American history. Displacement will stay with me forever; this gem is a must-have for any graphic novel collection, and an extremely important read for all Americans.
(Graphic Novel, Ages 10+) — From Staff Picks by Isabel
A teenager is pulled back in time to witness her grandmother's experiences in World War II-era Japanese internment camps in Displacement, a historical graphic novel from Kiku Hughes.
Kiku is on vacation in San Francisco when suddenly she finds herself displaced to the 1940s Japanese-American internment camp that her late grandmother, Ernestina, was forcibly relocated to during World War II.
These displacements keep occurring until Kiku finds herself "stuck" back in time. Living alongside her young grandmother and other Japanese-American citizens in internment camps, Kiku gets the education she never received in history class. She witnesses the lives of Japanese-Americans who were denied their civil liberties and suffered greatly, but managed to cultivate community and commit acts of resistance in order to survive.
Kiku Hughes weaves a riveting, bittersweet tale that highlights the intergenerational impact and power of memory.
About the Author
Kiku Hughes is a cartoonist and illustrator based in the Seattle area. Her work has been featured in Beyond Anthology volumes 1 and 2, Short Box #6 and the Alloy Anthology. She creates stories about identity, queer romance and compassionate sci-fi. Displacement is her first graphic novel, and it is a story she's wanted to share for as long as she can remember.
A 2020 ALA Asian/Pacific American Award Young Adult Honor Title
Listed as one of YALSA's 2021 Great Graphic Novels for Teens
"A potent look at history and the lasting intergenerational impact of community trauma."—School Library Journal, starred review
"This graphic novel blends historical fact and science fiction into an enthralling time-travel tale."—Horn Book
"Art features straightforward linework with full-color, often spare backgrounds that focus on characters. ...Hughes centers [Kiku's] powerlessness to create a compelling story about an oft-overlooked period of U.S. aggression against its own citizens."—Publisher's Weekly
"Spare, fine-lined artwork in muted earth tones emphasizes the flat desert landscape and echoes the staid, somber tone of the narrative overall, which is dense with voice-overs reflecting on the reverberating impact of the camps on her family and the Japanese diaspora in general."—Booklist
"A timely and well-paced story of personal discovery."—Kirkus
“Poignant and powerful...a work of art that is both timely and timeless.” —John Jennings, artist of kindred: a graphic novel adaptation
Isla Morley's The Last Blue takes place mainly in 1937 and a bit in the 1970s and is about Havens, a struggling photographer and his reporter sent by Roosevelt to document America’s working class. They are sent to Appalachia and encounter elusive-for-a-reason siblings who are Blue people. The photographer is instantly smitten, falls (literally) head over heels for Jubilee and tries to keep quiet about these folks in the hollers who are “different”. This historical fiction novel indicates clearly the depths of hatred some “right-colored” people have for people who are “different” (poverty, upbringing, skin color) from themselves but is finally, a luminous love story, with Havens learning to let go as Jubilee learns to stand up for herself. When I slow down my reading as I enter the last chapters of a book, I just want to stay within this book’s “walls” and not escape to the real world. - reviewed by Maureen