The AACP Newsletter
Since 1970 Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc. - Books for All Ages February 2003

AACP is Proud to Introduce

Picture of the cover to Poston Camp II, Block 211
By Jack Matsuoka
Edited by Emi Young
Published by AACP
2003, 158 pages, paperback.

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ORDER -- Price $16.95

Jack Matsuoka writes: "Back in the 60's and 70's, 'the internment camps' were sketchy images in the general public's mind, to say the least. Today, I can happily vision libraries in California and across the states, making this cartoon book on 'life in the internment camps' available to the general public. This is a giant step toward my dream."

Thanks to legislation by the State of California in 1998, many grants became available for the education of the public on the Japanese American incarceration during World War II. In the spirit of reparation and redress, these grants made possible community outreach with education and awareness as the main goal. Jack Matsuoka's reintroduces a 1974 CAMP II, BLOCK 211 as POSTON CAMP II, BLOCK 211. The cartoons about daily life in an American concentration camp are still timeless and easy to understand. There are no big words. It is said that children understand some things more clearly than adults. This could be called a documentary of Jack's life in a detention camp. Cartooning becomes a journalistic medium in this personal story. The book is intended for children and families who want to add their own personal stories of internment years to the cartoons. As one excited first grader said, "This is history, mom! This really happened!"

Up Coming Events

Here are some other events that AACP will soon be attending. Invite us to your events.
February 16
6pm – 9pm
Day of Remembrance SJ Buddhist Temple
San Jose, CA
March 1-2 Reading the World VUSF
March 7-8 California Council for the Social Studies Sac. Convention Center
Sacramento, CA
March 8 - 10 Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development Moscone Center
March 22 Northern California JA Senior Centers Alameda Buddhist Temple
Alameda, CA
March 24-26 Poston Reunion Golden Nugget
Las Vegas, NV
Other Event of Interest that AACP Will Not Attend
Jan. 26 - Feb. 16 SF Chinese New Year Parade and Festival SF, CA

Nevada State Railroad Museum
Salutes Chinese Railroad Workers

Announcement from Prof. Sue Fawn Chung

In January 2003 the Nevada State Railroad Museum, 2180 S. Carson Street, Carson City, Nevada 89701, opened its exhibit "Tireless and Unremitting: The Chinese and Nevada's Railroads," in recognition of the Chinese contribution to the construction of the transcontinental railroad and other railroad lines in Nevada. Funded by the Nevada Humanities Committee and the Friends of the Nevada State Railroad, the exhibit will be on display for two years with some of the artifacts and photographs changing at various times. Featured is a reconstruction of a joss house with artifacts dating from 1879 and a re-creation of a Chinese railroad tent site. There is an educational program for children and a videotape explaining the history of the Chinese in Nevada. The exhibit also has Chinese paper lanterns from the 1950s. The exhibit is set near late 19th century trains, most notably from the Virginia and Truckee Railroad, a line constructed by Chinese workers, that connected the Central Pacific Railroad's Reno Station with Virginia City via Carson City. Admission is $2 for adults. Children are free. For more information, call 775/687-6953.

Editor's Message

Thank you Professor Sue Fawn Chung for sending the announcement that we posted in this newsletter and thank you Jean Mundell for your book suggestion of When the Emperor Was Divine. My apology to April Goral for not handling your announcement in time.

Prof. Chung sent me another announcement that I was not able to get to in time. I have created a way to resolve your announcements in a more timely manner. Our website newsletter page ( now has a special section called "Between the Newsletters" for announcements that require more immediate attention. Please check this page from time to time to catch items that we are not able to include in this monthly newsletter.

We apology to those of you that did not yet receive a printed version of our new catalog by mail. Our contact database is a little disorganized. If you would like to see the catalog right away, you can now download the electronic version from our website at or by clicking on the following link

It's not too late to order a calendar. You can get one from the calendar resources page ( The page is still under construction. We hope to add a lot more content to make this page interesting for our visitors.

Check out our Lunar New Year book sale. Hurry, sale ends Feb. 28, 2003. Happy Lunar New Year!

Leonard Chan

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Apples and Oranges?
Editorial by Leonard Chan
Recently I was listening to a radio program called This American Life on NPR. The episode entitled "Secret Government" had this segment that reminded me of a drawing in the book "Poston Camp II" by Jack Matsuoka that we are featuring in this month's newsletter. In this segment a Pakistani boy describes his true story about the day the FBI came to take away his father. This was much like the day that Jack Matsuoka describes in his book about his dad being investigated and taken away by the FBI.

My work with AACP has made me acutely aware of many of the issues concerning the Japanese Internment during World War II. Part of AACP's original mission was to educate people about the experiences and injustices of the Internment. A phrase that I often hear in regards to the Internment is that "we must never let this happen again." After listening to the "Secret Government" episode of This American Life, I am left with the disturbing thought - Is it happening again?

I posed this question to some of my colleagues and friends and they had mixed opinions of the closeness of the two civil liberty issues. While the civil liberty issues of the US homeland security policy currently seems somewhat narrowly focused on catching terrorist, the Japanese American internment during World War II was applied to a much larger group. Also, as some have pointed out, the people being locked up today are usually individuals that have been accused of breaking the law or of bending the rules regarding their immigration status. So is this a comparison of apples and oranges?

Before you answer yes, here are some of the similarities -
Suspects are rounded up.
Both on the days following Dec. 7, 1941 and Sept. 11, 2001 hundreds to thousands of individuals are taken away by the FBI. No formal arrest warrants were used to apprehend and hold these individuals. The held individuals are kept in secrecy from everyone, including at times from their families and lawyers.

Laws protecting an individual's privacy are weakened.
Law enforcement is given extraordinary powers to conduct investigations on individuals with very little justification. Shortly before the Internment, being a Japanese American and owning a short-wave radio or just being a Japanese American fisherman could get you on the suspect list. Today the government has advance technology and powers to monitor all of our communiqués.

(similarities continued)

Selective enforcement
On Feb. 20, 1942 executive order 9066, the order that started the Internment, was implemented on the Japanese in America and not Italians and Germans living here (except for some individual cases). Today, certain migrant groups are being asked to register with the INS. Groups such as Saudis are not being handled immediately, which gives the impression of ethnic favoritism.

Families are uprooted and often given little time to prepare.
Japanese Americans were given less than a couple of weeks to pack up for their internment. Today, individuals caught in the early round up and INS registration processes that are deported often must take their families with them. As was then and is again now the innocent families are made to suffer.

Little legal recourse
As was in the past, today civil liberties are curtailed in the name of military necessity. Most disturbing today are the cases of US citizens being held as enemy combatants. Although there may be legitimate reasons for holding them, these individuals are given little chance of ever having their day in a court of law. We should all pray that such extraordinary powers never fall into the hands of government officials that may abuse them. At this time prayers are our only recourse.

No period in time can be a complete repeat of history. Every situation has their unique differences. However, with all these similarities, I think the comparison is much closer to grapefruits and oranges than to apples and oranges.

North Carolina Congressman Howard Coble's statement that basically stated that the Japanese American Internment during WWII was justified should be a red flag to all that some of those in power do not truly understand the injustice done in the past to the Japanese Americans. People that cannot understand this lesson may be more likely to repeat the mistakes of the past. Therefore it is more important than ever for all those that care about civil liberties to stand up and keep their eyes on our government and speak out when we believe they are doing wrong. If we fail to do this, then the phrase of "never again" will forever ring hollow.


The following books are discounted for subscribers to our newsletter. The discounts on these books end February 28, 2003.

Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats

By Nina Simonds, Leslie Swartz, & The Children's Museum, Boston
Illustrated by Meilo So
2002, 74 pages, hardback.

In this glorious collection, bestselling cookbook author Nina Simonds joins with Leslie Swartz and The Children's Museum, Boston, to offer festival lore, traditional stories, delectable recipes, and engaging activities that will inspire you to enjoy a full year of Chinese holidays. Try such treats as golden New Year's dumplings or tasty moon cakes. Build a kite at Qing Ming or a miniature dragon boat for the Dragon Boat Festival. Share the stories of the greedy Kitchen God or the valiant imperial warrior Hou Yi.

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ORDER -- Price $20.00

Chinese Proverbs

Collected by Ruthanne Lum McCunn
Introduction by K. L. Kiu
Illustrated by Hu Yong Yi
1991 & 2002, 80 pages, hardback.

This is a revised version of Ruthanne Lum McCunn's collection of Chinese Proverbs. Hu Yong Yi's new illustrations accompany the more than 50 traditional Chinese folk sayings - presented in both English and Chinese - that offer classic advice and observation on subjects ranging from friendship to common sense to the hardest learned lessons of life.

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ORDER -- Price $12.95

When the Emperor Was Divine

By Julie Otsuka
2002, 144 pages, hardback.

Julie Otsuka's commanding debut novel paints a portrait of the Japanese internment camps unlike any we have ever seen ... Spare, intimate, arrestingly understated, When the Emperor Was Divine is a haunting evocation of a family in wartime and an unmistakably resonant lesson for our times.

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ORDER -- Price $18.00

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