A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Displacement offers a historically accurate portrait of life in a Japanese internment camp in the United States during World War II. The fantasy elements do not detract from the realistic aspects of the tale. The Afterword explains Kiku's research into her history and what she learned about her grandmother's time as an internee.
Through political solidarity, people can effect positive change. Racism, sexism, and xenophobia need to be opposed by all.
Positive Role Models
Kiku is half-Japanese, but she at first does not feel connected to Asian culture. She comes to accept life in the camp, working hard, making friends, protecting others. She develops a romantic connection to a fellow female internee.
Violence & Scariness
The level of violence is low. An internee is shot near the fence, but the death is not depicted.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kiku and May are attracted to each other. They dance together, hold hands, and share a few kisses.
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Japanese Americans are called "Japs."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Displacement is a fact-based fantasy graphic novel, written and illustrated by Kiku Hughes, that depicts a contmporary American teen girl's mysterious, time-traveling trips from her home in San Francisco back to the camp where her grandmother was interned during World War II. It explores racism, xenophobia (fear of strangers or foreigners), and activism. Violence is limited to a fatal shooting, which is not depicted. Sexual content is limited to a few kisses and caresses between two teen girls.
Is It Any Good?
The internment of Japanese Americans is a national disgrace, and this subdued but moving time travel tale gives the subject its full due. Writer/illustrator Kiku Hughes uses her own family history in Displacement to support the story, giving the narrative extra weight. With a few simple expressions and gestures, she's able to convey a lot of emotion from her characters. Hughes focuses on the grace and grit of the internees, highlighting their individuality. Readers will find this an important graphic novel that has something new to say about a relevant and distressing subject.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.