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My Lost Freedom: A Japanese American World War II Story

My Lost Freedom: A Japanese American World War II Story

By George Takei and Illustrated by Michelle Lee


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A moving, beautifully illustrated true story for children ages 6 to 9 about growing up in Japanese American incarceration camps during World War II—from the iconic Star Trek actor, activist, and author of the New York Times bestselling graphic memoir They Called Us Enemy.

February 19, 1942. George Takei is four years old when his world changes forever. Two months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares anyone of Japanese descent an enemy of the United States.

George and his family were American in every way. They had done nothing wrong. But because of their Japanese ancestry, they were removed from their home in California and forced into camps with thousands of other families who looked like theirs.

Over the next three years, George had three different “homes”: the Santa Anita racetrack, swampy Camp Rohwer, and infamous Tule Lake. But even though they were now living behind barbed wire fences and surrounded by armed soldiers, his mother and father did everything they could to keep the family safe.

In My Lost Freedom, George Takei looks back at his own memories to help children today understand what it feels like to be treated as an enemy by your own country. Featuring powerful meticulously researched watercolor paintings, this is a story of a family’s courage, a young boy’s resilience, and the importance of staying true to yourself in the face of injustice.

About the contributor(s)

George Takei is a civil rights activist, social media superstar, Grammy-nominated recording artist, New York Times bestselling author, and pioneering actor whose career has spanned six decades. He has appeared in more than forty feature films and hundreds of television roles, most famously as Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek, and he has used his success as a platform to fight for social justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and marriage equality. His advocacy is personal: during World War II, George spent his childhood unjustly imprisoned in US incarceration camps along with more than 125,000 other Japanese Americans. He now serves as chairman emeritus and a member of the Japanese American National Museum’s board of trustees. George served on the board of the Japan–United States Friendship Commission and, in 2004, was given the Gold Rays with Rosette of the Order of the Rising Sun by the emperor of Japan for his contribution to US-Japan relations.

Michelle Lee is an illustrator and author who has been drawing since she could hold a pencil. Her illustrated book My Love for You Is Always received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and BookPage. As an Angeleno and an Asian American, Michelle felt a resonance with George’s story. She lives and works in the same area of Los Angeles where the story begins and ends.

Book details

ISBN: 9780593566350
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Date published:
Page count: 48
Categories: Juvenile Nonfiction / Asian American & Pacific Islander, Juvenile Nonfiction / Biography & Autobiography / Social Activists, and Juvenile Nonfiction / History / United States / 20th Century
Ages: 6 to 9

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