El béisbol nos salvó
By Ken Mochizuki
Illustrated by Dom Lee
The groundbreaking children’s book about the Japanese American concentration camp experience during World War II.
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Shorty and his family, along with thousands of other Japanese Americans, have been forced to relocate from their home to Camp. One day Shorty’s dad looks out across the desert and decides they should build a baseball field. Fighting the heat, dust, and freezing cold nights, the prisoners need something to look forward to, even if only for nine innings. So in this unlikely place, surrounded by barbed-wire fences and guards in towers, a baseball league is born. And Shorty soon finds that he is playing not only to win, but to gain dignity and self-respect.
Inspired by a long-hidden and shameful part of America’s past, and the people who triumphed over it, this modern classic remains a moving story of hope, courage, and endurance.
Translated from Baseball Saved Us, El béisbol nos salvó is the ultimate rite of passage story. It will appeal again and again to readers who enjoy cheering for the underdog.
Check out what close reading looks like for Baseball Saved Us.
Check out educator activities for Baseball Saved Us, a title featured in RIF’s Multicultural Book Collections. To find other free activities that inspire young readers as well as learn more about Reading Is Fundamental, visit us at RIF.org.
Explore a reading guide and learning activities for Baseball Saved Us from OurStory, a website created by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History to encourage adults and children in grades K–4 to read historical fiction and biography together.
For ideas on how to teach World War II and the roles children can play in solving national problems, check out the NEH lesson series, On the Home Front, featuring Baseball Saved Us from EDSITEment, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) website for K–12 teachers, school librarians, and students.
Use Baseball Saved Us with the units, Constitutional Issues and Immigration Journeys, by Sarah Loudon and Doug Selwyn, provided by the National Park Service and Densho, the Japanese American Legacy Project. These units are part of the Civil Liberties Curriculum created to encourage elementary, middle, and high school students to examine questions of constitutional and civil rights in relation to the Japanese American incarceration.
Check out the lesson plan Slow Motion Replay from Learn NC, a program of the UNC School of Education which finds and shares the most innovative and successful practices in K–12 education.
Learn about the experiences of children and teens in World War II interment camps with “The Japanese American Internment: How Young People Saw It,” a set of four lesson plans divided into grade bands featuring Baseball Saved Us, produced by the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies.
About the Creators
is the award-winning author of numerous books for children from Lee & Low Books. Mr. Mochizuki lives in Maple Valley, Washington, where he teaches, writes children's books, and gives presentations about his work full time.
DOM LEE made his picture-book debut with Baseball Saved Us. He grew up in Seoul, South Korea, and went on to illustrate books in both the United States and Korea. His titles for Lee & Low include Ken Mochizuki's Passage to Freedom and Heroes, as well as the award-winning Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds. Lee's unique illustration style involves applying encaustic beeswax on paper, then scratching out images, and finally coloring the images with oil paint. Lee and his wife live in Hollis, New York.