My Nest of Silence written and illustrated by Matt Faulkner. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2022. 9781534477629
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Format: Hardcover with some graphic novel additions
Genre: Historical fiction
What did you like about the book? A Japanese American family find themselves interned at the Manzanar prison camp during World War II. The son, Mak, joins the 442nd regiment of Japanese-American soldiers who fought during the war. His younger sister, Mari, a budding artist, misses him terribly. His letters home are powerfully and graphically illustrated each time that he writes while Mari’s life in the camp is told in prose through her eyes. Life in the camp has little to offer: the family lives in a one-room barracks, 20×20; the meals are cooked cabbage and spam served in a mess hall. When Mak joins the army, Mari takes a vow of silence that she will not break until Mak comes home. Mari has a very difficult time missing her brother only relieved by her constant drawing.
This is a powerful story with very well-developed characters. The graphic parts of the novel are spellbinding.
Anything you did not like about the book? No.
To whom would you recommend this book? This story stands out in those dedicated to life for Japanese Americans interned during the war. Those interested in this period of history -and even those who are not- will appreciate and benefit from this very real account.
Who should buy this book? Public, elementary and middle school libraries
Where would you shelve it? J and YA fiction
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Contributor, Youth Services Book Review
Date of Review: January 14, 2023
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