So Far from the Sea

by Eve Bunting

Hardcover, 1998



Call number




Clarion Books (1998), 32 pages


When seven-year-old Laura and her family visit Grandfather's grave at the Manzanar War Relocation Center, the Japanese American child leaves behind a special symbol.

User reviews

LibraryThing member KrystalAdcock
"So Far from the Sea" is a historical fiction picture book written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet, published in 2009 by Clarion Books/ New York. A young girl, Laurie, and her family take a road trip to visit the relocation camp memorial where her grandfather is buried. While
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visiting the camp, her parents tell she and her brother, Thomas about the history of the internment camps during WWII, and the challenges they faced as Japanese Americans. "So Far from the Sea addresses the power of perseverance though prejudice, betrayal, and fear. "So Far from the Sea" is a great book for teachers to use to teach a mini-lesson on the effects of internment camps during WWII. I would recommend this book to anyone. It is interesting, memorable, and historical.
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LibraryThing member reneefletcher
Laura and her family revisits the site of the relocation camp at which her father’s family had been sent when the Japanese entered World War II. The family will be moving to Boston and this might be the last time they will be able to visit their grandfather’s grave. As they walk through the
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deserted camp, Laura’s father tells of the feelings and hardships that all the people imprisoned there faced. Before they leave Laura puts her father’s old Cub Scout neckerchief on her grandfather’s grave as a reminder to everyone that her grandfather was American.

This is a very moving story about the hardships that we as a nation have put on groups because of fear or mistrust. The story is told from the daughter’s perspective, which allows the reader to empathize with the struggles that were faced by her family. Throughout the story, the author uses symbols such as the items placed at the foot of the monument that tie back the reader back to the Japanese culture, which helps to make them into people, just like us. I debated where to put this book, either Multicultural or Historical Fiction. I decided to put it under Historical Fiction because I liked how it gives an account of the relocation camps, which we do not hear much about. I really like how the illustrator uses the pictures to depict the present and the past.

In a Social Studies unit on World War II, this book could be used to allow the students to see a different point of view. After reading the story, have the students write in their journals how they would feel if it were their family who had to give up everything, just because of their heritage. Ask the question, “Has this every happen to other peoples in the United States?” This extension would be for fourth or fifth graders.

This story could be used in a lesson on symbolism. Read the story, then break into small groups and have each group reread the story looking for the different ways the author uses symbols to tell the story.
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LibraryThing member sdglenn
Diversity in the classroom. Fiction. Great for grades k-3 Illustrations drawn with color pencils. . Shauna, a young African American girl, loves helping Momma with the customers at her beauty salon.
LibraryThing member LilyMoayeri
"So Far From The Sea" tells the story of one Japanese American family's last visit to the site of their grandfather's grave at Manzanar, the Japanese internment camp. The story is told from the perspective of the young daughter in the family in clean and simple language. This is enhanced by
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detailed and gorgeous illustrations. These illustrations alternate from color (present) to black and white (past) showing how things are in the camp now and how they were then. The impact of Manzanar is delivered intensely and personally in this informative book.
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LibraryThing member bethanygimbel
I really liked the history aspect. You got to know the characters and their history. I was definitely a sad book.
LibraryThing member irisdovie
I found this book very sad and touching but also a good story - one I never thought of before. I did not know that when the Japanese-Americans were placed in camps here in America that their properties and possessions were also seized and they never got them back. Also never thought that some
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people died at the camps - maybe not from starvation like the Jews during the Holocaust, but from other things like pneumonia.
I would use this book in a school or public library curriculum to illustrate the long-term devastation that can occur from persecution.
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LibraryThing member booschnoo
This is a good example of Historical Fiction because it is based on verifiable historical fact and may have fictitious figures. It is also a good example of Realistic Fiction because it is something that could and has happened in real life.
Age: Intermediate
Stars: Setting
LibraryThing member elpowers
Beautiful book- very emotional. Pictures tell the whole story- good contrast with black and white vs color pictures.
LibraryThing member bissettm
Honest and thought-provoking story about a family who revisits their internment camp. Students learn about the injustice that Japanese Americans experienced during WWII. Good for a history lesson on WWII and discrimination.
LibraryThing member bwilhelm09
Genre: This is a historical fiction book because the events the book talks about that took place are real, even though the family is fiction. The setting, characters, and theme revolve around a historical event/time and the information is accurate for the time period. This is about a
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Japanese-American family who goes to visit their grandfather's grave at a camp where he was sent to simply because he was Japanese the American. Americans kept him contained in the internment camp because they did not feel they could trust him or any other Japanese American. The little girl repeatedly talks about how unfair this is and she leaves a symbol on his grave of patriotism and love.

Rating: 5

Media: watercolo
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LibraryThing member kris0812
This book is based on true events of the internment camps that were created after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. All Japanese Americans were forced to live in these camps during this time. In this story, the Iwasakis family is visiting their grandfather’s grave at the Manzanar camp in eastern
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California where he died without ever feeling freedom again. The family is leaving California to move to Massachuesettes, so they must say their final goodbyes to the place where their young father spent three and half years of his life as a child.
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LibraryThing member matthewbloome
This book does a powerful job of describing the internment camps of WWII with a touching story of a family paying their final respects at their grandfather's grave in the Manzanar Internment camp. It holds great educational value.
LibraryThing member HannahRevard
This book is about a girl and her brother, who visit the Japanese internment camp memorial site that her grandparents were in. There, she reflects about life was like in the camp. She leaves an important memento at her grandfather’s grave site.
LibraryThing member CatalinaDiaz
I like this book because of two reasons. I like this book because the illustrations are painted with great detail. The illustrations also alternate between colored paintings and black and white paintings. For example, when the Iwasakis’ family talks about Manzanar War Relocation Camp, from their
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past, the illustrations are in black and white to represent the past. When the family is back to the present, the illustrations are in color. I like the alternating illustrations because it is a representation of how the story is told. I really liked the afterword on the last page because it gave me more information about certain aspects of the story. For example, the story touches on the relocation camp that the family visits, but the afterword goes further in depth to explain that President Roosevelt had created the camps and after the war, the camps were sold and are now displayed as a historical site. The big idea of the book was to give an alternative perspective on a specific type of family, a Japanese-American family during WWII, and what they had to face even as American citizens.
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LibraryThing member sommerkirk
So Far from the Sea is a realistic fiction and informational book about a family who goes to an old relocation camp for Japanese Americans where the father grew up and their grandfather passed away during world war two. The father tells the children about world war two and there are flashbacks
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within the story to the happenings to the father and his parents when they were sent to the relocation camp to live. In the end of the story the daughter leaves a handkerchief for her grandfather because her family is leaving and wont be able to return in a while.
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LibraryThing member engpunk77
A family pays respects to the grave of their relative who died at Manzanar relocation camp. Black & white illustrations contrast with colorful ones representing flashback & present time (1973). Lends itself well to a lesson on flashback & symbolism. Will use in my classroom.


Original language



0395720958 / 9780395720950


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