cover image Displacement


Kiku Hughes. First Second, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-2501-9353-7

Mixing fact and fiction in this autobiographical graphic novel, debut author Hughes follows a teen experiencing Japanese internment firsthand through time travel to the WWII era. Japanese American Kiku Hughes, 16, feels disconnected from her Japanese heritage, and she knows little about her family’s history, which includes internment in Utah’s Topaz Relocation Center. On a trip to San Francisco with her mother, an ephemeral fog transports Kiku from the site of her maternal grandmother’s childhood home to the past. Later, pulled from her Seattle home during the Trump Muslim ban, Kiku spends more than a year interned as a Japanese prisoner alongside her then-living maternal grandmother. She struggles over whether to introduce herself and manages to cope with the help of fellow prisoners Aiko Mifune and love-interest May Ide. Through Kiku, readers learn key details about this moment in history, among them the murder of James Wakasa and the further relocation of people who voted, in a loyalty questionnaire, against serving in the U.S. military and renouncing their ancestry. Art features straightforward linework with full-color, often spare backgrounds that focus on characters. Though Kiku doesn’t exert her will on the past, Hughes centers that powerlessness to create a compelling story about an oft-overlooked period of U.S. aggression against its own citizens. Ages 12–up. [em](Aug.) [/em]