Obaasan's Boots

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"They had everything taken from them because they were Japanese."

Cousins Lou and Charlotte don’t know a lot about their grandmother’s life. When their Obaasan invites them to spend the day in her garden, she also invites them into their family’s secrets. Grandma shares her experience as a Japanese Canadian during WWII, revealing the painful story of Japanese internment. Her family was forced apart. Whole communities were uprooted, moved into camps, their belongings stolen. Lou and Charlotte struggle with the injustice, even as they marvel at their grandmother’s strength. They begin to understand how their identities have been shaped by racism, and that history is not only about the past.

Praise & Recognition

"Beautifully done."

Joy Kogawa, bestselling author of Obasan, Naomi’s Road, and Naomi’s Tree

“A book that so beautifully captures the intimate and ongoing effects of internment on post war Japanese Canadian families. Bridger and Okihiro fully inhabit the idea that ‘history is not only about the past’ by tracing its present-day echoes and reverberations—in gardens, at dinner tables and through everyday familial relationships.”

Kyo Maclear, author of Virginia Wolf and The Wish Tree

"This book could also be included in a children’s literature class or in a thematic unit about works of literature that focus on the Second World War’s impact on people from different communities. Highly Recommended."

Canadian Review of Materials

"A moving novel with much to recommend it to adult readers as well as to younger people."

Historical Novel Society

Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize , BC and YUKON Book Awards 2024 - Short-listed

Red Cedar Book Award - Fiction Category 2024 - Short-listed

Chocolate Lily Book Awards - Novel Category 2024 - Short-listed

Details

Publication Date: October 3, 2023

Reading Age: 9 - 12

Genre: Children's Fiction, Middle Grade

Product Format: Paperback

Pages: 160

ISBN: 978-1-77260-348-4

Weight: 200

Lara Jean Okihiro

About the Author

Lara Jean Okihiro

Lara Jean Okihiro is a writer, researcher, and educator of mixed Japanese Canadian heritage living in Toronto. Intrigued by the power and magic of stories, she earned a Master’s (Goldsmiths College) and a Doctorate (University of Toronto) in English. Living abroad inspired her to learn about her family’s experience of internment. Lara writes about dispossession, hoarding, social justice, and carrying the important lessons of the past into the future.

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Janis Bridger

About the Author

Janis Bridger

Janis Bridger is an educator and writer who has many creative outlets and a love for the outdoors. She lives in Vancouver, Canada, close to where her Japanese Canadian grandparents lived before being interned. Janis earned a diploma in Professional Photography (Langara College), a Bachelor of Education and General Studies (Simon Fraser University) and a Master of Education (University of Alberta), specializing in teacher-librarianship. Social justice, diversity, and kindness are paramount in her life and embedded in her everyday teaching.

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