Bob Sakata: American Farmer | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/bob-sakata-american-farmer[12/8/2015 1:08:39 PM] Home Bob Sakata: American FarmerBob Sakata: American FarmerSubmitted by jainlayconley on 11-11-2009 07:22 AMAuthor: Daniel Blegen Publishing: Palmer Lake, CO: Filter Press, 2009. 100 pages. Photos, maps, appendices, bibliography, index. 5-1/2 x 8-1/2. $8.95 paperback. Juvenile. Reviewer: Kelley Staggs With an introduction that was engaging and visual (and made me hungry), this biography of the Colorado farmer Bob Sakata peaked my interest and curiosity. I was interested in how this particular biography might fit into my sixth grade classroom and curious about how the organizational pattern of the table of contents metaphors would describe the cycle of Sakatas life. How would a man with such humble beginnings, facing a lifetime of challenges and obstacles, grow to be a successful and important part of Colorado history? Author Daniel Blegen answers this question in Sakatas biography. Blegen weaves the theme of creativity throughout the story with examples from Sakatas life. Each time events made Sakatas life difficult and discouraging, his creativity shown through. Whether Sakata was building new equipment to make farm work more efficient (23) or finding a legal way out of the Japanese internment camp when he was a teenager (60-61), the creativity theme and examples highlight Sakatas goal-oriented determination. Sakata grew up with his family in the farm valleys east of San Francisco near Centerville on ten acres of land. They had a small orchard, grew vegetables, and lived in a small wood-frame house. He grew up in poverty, but maintained a tremendous amount of pride" (19). During the Depression, Sakata focused on working his familys farm, being a member of the Future Farmers of America, and completing high school. When the Japanese Air Force attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, however, his life was turned upside down. President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 ordering the voluntary evacuation of Japanese Americans from the West Coast states. Bob Sakata and his family were forced to give up all of their possessions and relocate to live in a horse stall at the Tanforan Race Track. The familys final destination was to be the Topaz Internment Camp near Delta, Utah. Here the Japanese Americans tried to make the best of an inhumane and degrading situation. They organized the blocks and picked leaders for councils, formed schools for their children, and started Christian and Buddhist churches (56, 57). Finally in December of 1942, at age sixteen, Sakata was given a citizens endorsement by his former FFA teacher and allowed to leave the internment camp on his way to Brighton, Colorado. Here the governor was welcoming Americans like Bob Sakata. There is excellent use of quotations throughout the biography. I was particularly impressed with how the author explained why Colorados Governor Carr supported Japanese American rights and welcomed them to our state (Ch. 7). Governor Carr told citizens that, We must preserve the rights of all men under the Constitution (67). Some farmers did not see why the government should draft farm boys and replace EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanNow, thats wrong! Some of these Japanese are citizens of the United States. Colorado Gov. Ralph Carrs response to Executive Order 9066 forcing Japanese into internment camps during WWII.
Bob Sakata: American Farmer | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/bob-sakata-american-farmer[12/8/2015 1:08:39 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us them with enemy aliens (66). The quotations clearly show the controversy of the Governors ideals. This book has most of the nonfiction craft or writing strategies, that allow teachers to use this book as a mentor text It is an example of a piece of work that models nonfiction writing techniques to younger writers. It flows in an easy-to-follow, narrative manner that is appropriate for middle school and higher readers. The only craft not up to standard for a classroom mentor text is the lack of defining vocabulary words within the text. I find that when these bolded words are only defined in the glossary, students do not have an uninterrupted sense of comprehension of the story. Defining new words and titles within the text leads to a clearer understanding. Throughout the book are shaded side notes to give the reader additional information about the Amache internment camp (61), World War II (75), and Japanese emperors (88). My particular favorite was Bob Sakatas philosophy of life (91). After reading his story, with all of the trials and accomplishments of his life, the reader cant help but respect and admire his Ten Simple Donts list. The use of historic photos and captions add amazing depth to the comprehension of the story. The visuals of Japanese families being displaced, boarding buses, living in horse stalls, and lining up for meals in chapter six will deeply affect every reader. Photos of the same culture starting nursery schools for their children will warm the heart.I was proud of their love and spirit. The pictures are well chosen and link the concepts of Japanese Americans loss of property and captivity to historically valuable images. They are age appropriate for intermediate elementary and higher level students. These students will make the connection that these visuals depicting discrimination, evacuation, loss of freedom, and resilience happened to a real person, Bob Sakata. Reviewer Info: Kelley Staggs has been a proud public school sixth grade teacher for eighteen years. She currently teaches elevenand twelve-year-olds at Van Arsdale Elementary School in Arvada. She received her bachelor of arts in elementary education from Metropolitan State College of Denver, her masters degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Colorado, and an earth science certification from Colorado School of Mines. She lives in Arvada, Colorado, with her family of four, many pets, and Mustang. Add new comment