Baseball Saved Us
By Ken Mochizuki
Illustrated by Dom Lee
Six Pack: $59.70
One day my dad looked out at the endless desert and decided then and there to build a baseball field.
"Shorty" and his family, along with thousands of other Japanese Americans, have been forced to relocate from their homes to a "camp" after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Fighting the heat, dust, and freezing cold nights of the desert, Shorty and the others at the camp need something to look forward to, even if only for nine innings. So they build a playing field, and in this unlikely place, a baseball league is formed. Surrounded by barbed-wire fences and guards in towers, Shorty soon finds that he is playing not only to win, but to gain dignity and self-respect as well.
Inspired by actual events, this moving story of hope and courage in a Japanese American internment camp during World War II reveals a long-hidden and ugly part of the American past. The 25th Anniversary Edition features a revised cover and a new introduction from the author and illustrator.
Check out the following teaching resources to go with the book:
-See 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.
-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.
-Check out the Activity Guide from Live Oak Media, which creates readalongs to help children learn to read and develop language skills.
-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.
-Read the New York Times story, For Incarcerated Japanese Americans, Baseball Was 'Wearing the American Flag', about the history of baseball in the Japanese Internment Camps.
About the Creators
is the award-winning author of numerous books for children from LEE & LOW. Mr. Mochizuki lives in Seattle, Washington, where he teaches, writes children's books, and gives presentations about his work full time.
was born in Seoul, South Korea, and received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. With his unique style of art combining techniques of painting and scratching details in encaustic wax, Lee has illustrated many award-winning picture books for children for LEE & LOW . He lives with his wife and children in Demarest, New Jersey. To find out more about Dom Lee, visit domandk.com