Written by Shig Yabu
Illustrated by Willie Ito
Shigeru (Shig) Yabu was a nine-year-old boy living in San Francisco when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, a day that changed the lives of all Japanese Americans. The government forced his family to leave their home and go south to Pomona where a temporary camp was set up.
In October 1942, the family was relocated to Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming. There were over 10,000 internees, which instantly made Heart Mountain the third largest city in Wyoming. Guard towers and barbed wire were all around them.
Shig and his family soon got used to eating together in a large hall, using the public restrooms, and living in barracks. A barrack is a big, open building with very little furniture and comforts.The children attended school in barracks, too, and had both American and Japanese American teachers.
The boys enjoyed playing a variety of games and sports. In the summer, they'd swim in a large hole filled with water nearby their school. In the winter, they'd ice skate on the frozen pond.
Some days they'd become adventurous and would leave the barracks to explore the area beyond the barbed wire. It was during one of these expeditions that Shigeru met his magpie friend, Maggie.