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Parents' Guide to

They Called Us Enemy

By Michael Berry, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Powerful graphic memoir of actor's internment as a child.

They Called Us Enemy Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 1 parent review

age 12+

Engages and informs readers while modeling how to advocate for democracy

George Takei's They Called Us Enemy is just the novel we need right now. Takei tells his story with honesty and insight. His memoir is illustrated beautifully and appropriately for this age group. Even the most traumatic of scenes are visually depicted in a way that brings awareness to a dark moment without employing an inappropriate level of gore for teen readers. The book starts off from George's perspective as a boy in the camp, and then evolves to George's reflective perspective as an adult in our current society, making connections to current events. He includes names of political figures and historical facts with the sole purpose of informing his readers while modeling how to advocate for democracy using knowledge from our past.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (3 ):

This powerful graphic memoir expertly captures the heartbreak of America's Japanese internment camps during World War II and the resilience of those who experienced them. In They Called Us Enemy, George Takei and his collaborators tell a story rich in historical detail and personal triumph. Much of the narrative is from a child's viewpoint, increasing the impact of the story as George and his brother Henry struggle to understand events that leave adults overwhelmed. As an adult, Takei found fame and fortune, but this book makes it clear that his memories of the trauma are never far away. The injustice that occurred more than seven decades ago has left permanent marks on its victims.

Harmony Becker's black-and-white, manga-influenced illustrations give the sometimes grim narrative a shot of good-humored buoyancy. They Called Us Enemy will appeal to a wide range of readers, from Star Trek fans to history buffs to anyone looking for a well-told tale of wartime struggles.

Book Details

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