Tips for Teachers from Author Suzanne Lieurance
Thank for your following me on Day 3 of my 5-day virtual tour for my middle grade historical novel The Lucky Baseball - My Story in a Japanese-American Internment Camp, from Enslow Publishers. Obviously, this book was designed for classroom use as a way to supplement the regular social studies textbooks when it comes to helping students learn about events in American history. But I think readers enjoy the book mainly because they get to know and like the main character, Harry Yakamoto, a young Japanese-American boy growing up in Seven Cedars, California, in 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and Harry's life changed forever.
Watch the trailer for my book here:
When I visit schools across the country I sometimes talk to students about using real events in history as the basis for creating fictional stories. I even have a workshop about this, so I can guide students to choose historical events to research so they can create fictional characters who witnessed these events.
I love to visit schools, libraries, and bookstores to talk about my writing and my books. I particularly enjoy helping teachers and school librarians see how they can use nonfiction to help students write better fiction. Teachers and librarians can find out more about this at my website at www.suzannelieurance.com.
Here are a few activities from the free Educator's Guide (email me if you'd like the guide) that was created for my book:
Have students write a fictional journal entry describing their first sight of Manzanar, and their feelings and fears as they get off the transport bus.
Mike’s father was arrested before his family ever left for Manzanar; they didn’t know where he was or if they would ever see him again. Have students write a letter from Mike to his father describing his feelings about the separation.
Harry, his father, and his grandparents had to live in a partitioned unit, or small apartment, that measured only 20 by 25 feet and had a single window, a light bulb hanging from the ceiling, and a small oil stove for heat.
Using a tape measure and chalk (or masking tape), have students lay out an outline of that area based on these dimensions to show how small the living space actually was for a family of four.
Have students determine how many square feet each person would get? Using graph paper and drawing to scale, have students try to fit in cots, a stove, and other furniture they think is necessary for a family of four into a 20x25 foot space drawing.
About 110,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans were eventually evacuated and moved into ten isolated relocation centers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. Have students find out the average population of the United States during World War II. Based on the numbers above, have students find the percentage of Americans (Japanese descent) who were sent to internment camps, such as Manzanar.
Manzanar held 10,046 prisoners at its peak; two thirds of those were under the age of 18. Have students figure out the number of children at Manzanar.
When evacuees left their homes during the spring and summer of 1942, they left behind an estimated total of approximately $200,000,000 worth of real, commercial and personal property. Many people tried to sell their household possessions before they left, but most were only given a few days to pack and get their affairs in order. Therefore, many were prey to fortune hunters who offered them far less than fair market value for their things. Have students research and compare prices for goods in 1942 to the prices of today.
If you have any questions about the book, leave them here as a comment and I will answer them for you.
P.S. Follow Day 4 of my tour tomorrow at http://www.launchpadpublishing.com/apps/blog
You can also check out my review of The Lucky Baseball:http://www.karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com/2010/12/lucky-baseball-by-suzanne-lieurance.html
Other Book Marketing Articles
Book Marketing – Create a Blog
Plan a Virtual Book Tour: The First Steps
Book Promotion: The Foundation
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