cover image Thirty Minutes Over Oregon: A Japanese Pilot’s World War II Story

Thirty Minutes Over Oregon: A Japanese Pilot’s World War II Story

Marc Tyler Nobleman, illus. by Melissa Iwai. Clarion, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-544-43076-1

Nobleman (Fairy Spell) tells the little-known story of the only airplane bombing of the U.S. mainland during WWII—from a plane launched from a submarine via catapult. The book focuses on Nobuo Fujita, the Japanese pilot who flew the missions. Initial pages detail the September 1942 bombings of Oregon timberland, one early in the morning and one at night, in hopes of igniting a forest fire. The second half of the book describes later reconciliation visits between the pilot and residents of the tiny coastal town of Brookings: “Nobuo donated thousands of dollars to the town, specifically so that the library could buy children’s books that celebrate other cultures.” He also hosted high school students from Brookings, planted a tree at the bomb site, and, after he died, even had some of his ashes spread there: “A flutist played a solo combining the national anthems of Japan and America.” Pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations by Iwai (So Small! Yosemite) deftly convey the story’s many emotions. Full-color spreads and vignettes match a clear narrative that pays tribute to a change of heart and the importance of cultural understanding. Ages 6–9. (Oct.)