The Moved-Outers


moved out

Book: The Moved-Outers

Author: Florence Crannell Means

Illustrator: Paula Dias

Publisher: Walker and Company Children’s, republished 1992

ISBN-13: 978-0395069332 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0395069335 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0802773869 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0802773869 Paperback

Language level: 2

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Ages 10 and up

Rating: ***** 5 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

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Means, Florence Crannell.  The Moved-Outers (published in 1945 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Company; republished in 1992 by Walker Publishing Company, 435 Hudson St., New York City, NY  10014).  Eighteen year old Sumiko (Sue) Ohara, a Japanese-American, lives with her parents, year-younger brother Kimeo (Kim), and fox terrier Skippy near Los Angeles in a small town named Cordova, CA, where her prosperous father runs a nursery and florist shop and she and Kim are both seniors in high school.  Her older brother Tadashi (Tad) is in the army, and her older sister Emiko (Amy) is away in college.  Her best friend since Kindergarten is Emily Andrews.  Another school friend is Tomi Ito, also Japanese-American, who lives with her less-wealthy family which includes an older brother Jiro.  Sue and Jiro seem to have developing feelings for each other, but because off class differences both sets of parents do not approve of the relationship.

Sue has high dreams for the future of going to college after high school graduation.  Then on Dec.7, 1941, the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.  Shortly afterwards, Mr. Ohara is taken away by the F. B. I. and interned at Bismark, ND.  Later, Mrs. Ohara, Sue, and Kim, along with the Itos and many others, are interned first at the Santa Anita racetrack in California and then in a camp at Amache, CO.  What happens to Sue, her family, and her plans?  Will she be able to see her father again?  And do the Oharas ever get to return home?  This captivating story was a Newbery Honor recipient in 1946.  There are some common euphemisms (golly, gosh, darn, blamed, doggone, heck), but the Oharas are a faithful church-going family.  Author Florence Crannell Means faithfully describes the grim betrayal that Japanese-Americans felt when their loyalty to America was questioned and their struggle to retain their dignity and identity in the relocation camp as Americans despite the prejudice and other difficulties, but she also tells about the good deeds that many people do for them and their hope for a better life later on.

The relocation of Japanese-American citizens during the Second World War is a very sad chapter in our nation’s history.  It was a bad decision, but an understandable one given the circumstances.  We were at war with Japan.  While the vast majority of Japanese-Americans were fiercely loyal to the United States, there were Japanese spies in this country.  So Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “brain trust” of the “brightest and best” progressive advisers came up with internment as their solution to the problem.  That still didn’t make it right. Florence C. Means wrote numerous books for young people and was apparently one of the first American authors to write about minority populations.  The Moved-Outers is an amazing book, considering that it was written right around the end of W. W. II.

This entry was posted in Newbery Honor Books, period fiction, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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