Direct Teaching:

Give the students time to read the story independently (4 pages)—since the story is relatively short, it can be completed at the beginning of the class period. If you have more time allotted for this lesson, you could participate in guided reading during class as well.


Vocabulary Instruction:

Though this lesson is intended for a social studies classroom, it can serve a cross-curricular purpose by introducing students to unfamiliar yet relevant vocabulary. Write the following words on the board: Nisei, surrender, loyalties, consistently, internment. Before asking students to locate these words in a dictionary, have them write down what they think the words mean using context clues or visual cues from the story.


Then ask the following questions:

  1. 1.Why is it significant that the protagonist is considered Nisei? How does that affect the government’s

  2. 2.need to intern him and others like him?

  3. 3.What is the reason the “Nisei Kid” offers for surrendering to the authorities? What does this say about his attitude regarding the decision?

  4. 4.The “Nisei Kid” was a fellow superhero who consistently protected the citizens of the country. Why were his loyalties questioned after Pearl Harbor?

  5. 5.What are some synonyms for the word internment?


Extension Activity:

After Executive Order 9066 was signed, the mass relocation of Japanese Americans from the West Coast took place over an eight-month period. Though it was dubbed an "evacuation"—which implies that Japanese Americans were taken away from their homes for their own safety—E.O. 9066 essentially forcibly exiled American citizens in their own country, without due process and with little warning. Many families were only given 24 to 48 hours to prepare for relocation, often being told to take “only what they could carry.” Families were numbered, tagged, and

taken to Relocation Camps located in remote and desolate areas of Arizona, Arkansas, California, New Mexico, Utah, and other inland states; the presence of armed guards and barbed wire made the internment camps resemble prisons. Despite these unbearable living arrangements, many families did their best to maintain some semblance of normalcy, setting up schools and churches and other community institutions. In particular, baseball and other sports leagues proved to be an important means by which interned Japanese Americans passed the time and preserved a sense of dignity.


Assignment: Imagine that you're a child living in one of the internment camps during World War II who looks up to the “Nisei Kid.” Write a one-page letter to your best friend back home describing your life in the camps, and discussing how it feels to see your hero subjected to the same conditions. Be sure to include details and imagery when describing your environment.


Further Discussion:

In late 1944, the Supreme Court determined that the forced detainment of American citizens was unconstitutional, and over the course of 1945, most internees were reintegrated into society. Though they were given back their freedom, the years of internment had taken its toll. Families were stressed and friendships broken; loss of property, businesses, and homes as a result of internment ravaged Japanese American communities throughout the West Coast. Though many communities were rebuilt over time, official redress for monetary and psychological damages did not come for another four decades, when President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988,

which authorized repayment for damages inflicted on the victims of Japanese American internment. A possible further discussion topic: Compare and contrast the treatment of Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor with the treatment of Arab and Muslim Americans in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001. What are the similarities and differences? Do facilities like Guantanamo Bay echo the camps of Manzanar and Tule Lake?