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Hello Maggie
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Hello Maggie

By Shigeru Yabu
Illustrated by Willie Ito
2007, 33 pages, Paperback.
Book Description from Back Cover
Comments from Back Cover
About the Author

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Book Description from the Introduction

Shigeru (Shig)Yabu was a nine-year old boy living in San Francisco when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, a day that changed the lives for all Japanese Americans. The government forced his family to leave their home and go south to Pomona where a temporary camp was set up.

In October 1942, the family was relocated to Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming. There were over 10,000 internees, which instantly made Heart Mountain the third largest city in Wyoming. Guard towers and barbed wire were all around them.

Shig and his family soon got used to eating together in a large hall, using the public restrooms, and living in barracks. A barrack is a big, open building with very little furniture and comforts.The children attended school in barracks, too, and had both American and Japanese American teachers.

The boys enjoyed playing a variety of games and sports. In the summer, they'd swim in a large hole filled with water nearby their school. In the winter, they'd ice skate on the frozen pond. They also spent a lot of time talking about where they each came from, and about eating. They craved the hot dogs, hamburgers, milk shakes, banana splits, and ice cream sodas they remembered from home. Shig, like most of the other kids, did not worry about the future as they lived day by day.

Some days they'd become adventurous and would leave the barracks to explore the area beyond the barbed wire. It was during one of these expeditions that Shigeru met his magpie friend, Maggie.

When the war was over, everyone left the camp. The adults had to work hard to rebuild the lives they had known before the war broke out. Like many of the friends he'd met at the barracks, Shig worked on delivering newspapers to help his family out. For a long time after the war, Shig would remember the love and loyalty of Maggie's friendship and what this meant to so many during the years away from home, at Heart Mountain.

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Comments from Back Cover

"Your book needs to be published so thousands of young Americans can learn, in a very interesting way, important lessons from our past."
- Michael Enzi, United States Senator

"By sharing the experience of the Japanese American incarceration during World War II with young audiences, "Hello Maggie" is a valuable addition to children's literature. This personal and poignant story will be enjoyed by readers of all ages."
- Irene Hirano, President/CEO Japanese American National Museum

"Although life for Japanese Americans forced into internment camps during World War II was very difficult, your recollection of life in the relocation center, during this dark period in American history, is both sensitive and informative."
- Daniel K. Inouye, United States Senator

"Hello Maggie is a touching and poignant story, and while it is artfully told from a child's perspective, its deeper message about a tragic chapter in our nation's history is worthy of readers of all ages."
- Lance A. Ito, Keynote speaker/Heart Mountain Reunion 2001, Son of James and Toshiko Ito who met at Heart Mountain

"Shig Yabu has written a very touching story about something that should never ever happen again. Hello Maggie brought back many memories of my own experiences in Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming."
- Norman Y. Mineta, Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation

" I was 10,"Shig" 9 on December 7, 1941. This is a most tender story about all boys - of every race - except he was behind barbed wire and I lived in freedom in Cody, "down the road." Magpies, sling shots, rivers, adventure, marbles and memories - the "stuff" of young lads - beautifully told."
- Alan Simpson, United States Senator

"Charmingly written and illustrated children's book." Concerning the Japanese-American relocation from 1942-1945.Your heart goes out to the children of the relocation camp. You fall in love with "Maggie" and now she will live on forever."
- Patricia S. WoIfe, Heart Mountain, Wyoming Foundation Board Member

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Background on Shigeru Yabu and Willie Ito

Shigeru Yabu
Following the war, Shig lived with his parents in the Bay area near San Francisco. In 1951, Shig joined the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman in the Korean War. He served for 4 years with an additional 4 years on inactive reserve. Following this, while raising three boys with his wife Irene, he attended college in San Diego and held down various part-time jobs. 1960, Shig graduated from San Diego State College.

Shig started working at the Boys Clubs of San Diego. He was the first Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Camarillo, California. Shig has worked with the Boys Clubs for over 28 years, promoting health and self esteem in young people. A lifelong athlete, he had the honor of participating in the torch carrying ceremony of the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Fifty nine years after his time at the Heart Mountain Relocation Camp, Shig Yabu brought back many fond memories of Maggie. He is now a Board member of the Heart Mountain, Wyoming Foundation.

Willie Ito
A native San Franciscan, Willie spent his war years in Topaz, Utah. It is during this period in camp that his interest in cartooning flourished. Upon his return after the war, he continued his studies in art.

He graduated from San Francisco City College and went to Los Angeles to study at Chouinard Art Institute. Willie was hired on at Walt Disney Studios. He later went on to Warner Bros. Cartoons, Bob Clampett Prods., Hanna Barbera and Sanrio. Willie returned to Walt Disney as Director of International Creative overseeing young Disney artists world wide.

After a 45 year career in the animation industry, he retired and is now pursuing children's book illustrating. Willie and his wife Rosemary have three sons, a daughter and six grandchildren.

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