This true story, set in a Japanese internment camp during World War II, introduces children to a little-discussed part of American history through Marissa Moss's rich text and Yuko Shimizu's beautiful illustrations. The book includes author and illustrator notes, archival photographs, and a bibliography. Praise for Barbed Wire Baseball
"In language that captures the underlying sadness and loss, Moss emphasizes Zeni's fierce spirit as he removes every obstacle in order to play his beloved baseball and regain a sense of pride. Shimizu's Japanese calligraphy brush-and-ink illustrations colored in Photoshop depict the dreary landscape with the ever-present barbed wire, with that beautiful grassy baseball field the only beacon of hope."
--Kirkus Reviews "As this expressive picture book makes clear, Zenimura never allowed his small stature to diminish his dreams."
--Booklist "Moss is a skilled author of historical narrative nonfiction for young readers; her tale is both well researched and well told. But it's the visually stunning, sensitive illustrations by the hugely talented Shimizu that make the book a standout."
--New York Times Book Review "Text and illustrations mesh to create an admiring portrait of an exemplary individual who rose above his challenges and inspired others."
--School Library Journal "In her picture book debut, artist Shimizu finely crafts pen-and-ink illustrations with a calligraphy brush to help portray a true story of resilience during WWII."
--Publishers Weekly "Shimizu's Japanese brush and ink illustrations, digitally layered with dusty colors suggestive of the arid relocation camp, are a visual feast, from the patterned swirls of battleship steam and desert dust, to the series of depictions of Zenimura in motion, to the rhythmic composition of the female detainees stitching the potato-sack uniforms."
--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books "Yuko Shimizu's arresting illustrations, evoking the firm lines, dramatic curves and color wash of Japanese prints, add drama and authenticity to this memorable account."
--The Wall Street Journal "This is a beautifully designed and inspirational sports story about the power of American dreams, even when such dreams are sometimes deferred."
2013 California Book Award Winner - Juvenile Category
California Reading Association's Eureka Nonfiction Children's Book Awards - HONOR
Notable Children's Books from ALSC 2014
- ISBN-13: 9781419705212
- ISBN-10: 1419705210
- Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: April 2013
- Page Count: 48
- Reading Level: Ages 7-10
- Dimensions: 11.1 x 9.3 x 0.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > Sports & Recreation - Baseball & Softball
Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > People & Places - United States - Asian American
Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > History - United States/20th Century
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-03-25
- Reviewer: Staff
In her picture book debut, artist Shimizu finely crafts pen-and-ink illustrations with a calligraphy brush to help portray a true story of resilience during WWII. Born in Japan, Kenichi Zenimura, nicknamed Zeni, grows up in Hawaii and California loving and playing baseball. When WWII sees him, his wife, and teenage sons sent to an Arizona internment camp, Zeni "felt as if he were shrinking into a tiny hard ball." The bulk of Moss's (Nurse, Soldier, Spy) descriptive narrative centers on Zeni's efforts to build a baseball diamond at the camp. Thick brush lines create heavy textures in the digitally colored pictures, giving some the appearance of woodcut prints. All of the scenes occupy full spreads, echoing the expansive nature of Zeni's plan: unwilling to settle for a dusty dirt field, he irrigates it and grows grass; benches are made from wood scavenged under dark of night, and uniforms sewn from potato sacks. This triumphant story of how the father of Japanese-American baseball brightened the dark days of war concludes with an afterword, b&w photos, and notes from both author and illustrator. Ages 6–10. Author's agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (Apr.)