Grandfather’s Journey

Title: Grandfather’s Journey

Author(s): Allen Sy

Illustrator/Photographer: Allen Sy

Publisher and Year: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993

Number of pages: 29

Genre: Children’s Non-Fiction

Analysis: In Allen Sy’s award winning book Grandfather’s Journey, the text functions as a window to the audience because it shows what life is like for a person that calls two very different countries home. This true story tells first of Sy’s grandfather’s life. As he makes his way from Japan to America he realizes the beauty of nature from the Pacific Ocean to the deserts, mountains, and rivers of the New World. In the cities filled with factories and tall buildings, he makes acquaintances with many different people from diverse backgrounds. He brings his childhood sweetheart to America and they move back to Japan after having their daughter. There, Allen Sy is born. Shortly after, Sy experiences the nuclear bombing on Hiroshima. Everything that his family had was gone. He moves on by starting a new life in grandfather’s favorite part of America, California. There he starts a family, but feels the same as his grandfather felt when he was away from his homeland. No matter where he goes, he misses California or his homeland. The book made me think something that I never had before. The Japanese really had it hard no matter whether they were in the internment camps in America or they lost everything from the nuclear bombing on Hiroshima. It is interesting how his grandfather was treated in America the first time he went there. All the people that he met were a lot like him. They all came from different backgrounds, were handy in their own way, and understood what it was like to be homesick for your home country. They wanted to create a future that they thought would give their children a better chance in life. This makes us question why the Japanese were treated the way they were during the WWII era. Are they not like everyone else? What of the German, Russian, or Italian born citizens of that time? Why weren’t they treated like the Japanese too? Could not they be thought of as suspicious? Or could United States government not contain them? I am surprised Sy’s grandfather wanted to go back to America before he died even after the United States kept the American Japanese in the internment camps.

Illustration:

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