Sylvia & Aki on palkittu historiallinen kaunokirjallisuus, joka on kirjoitettu vuonna 2015. Se kertoo todellisen tarinan odottamattomasta ystävyydestä Sylvia Mendezin ja Aki Munemitsun välillä. . Aki ja hänen perheensä ovat japanilaisia amerikkalaisia, jotka yhdessä kymmenien tuhansien muiden kanssa pakotettiin jättämään kotinsa ja vangittuina internointileirillä toisen maailmansodan ajaksi. Munemitsusten internoidessa he vuokrasivat maatilansa Westminsterissä Kaliforniassa Mendezin perheelle. Sylvia oli innoissaan mennä uuteen kouluunsa Westminsteriin, mutta hän ja hänen veljensä evätään pääsy meksikolaisen perinteensä vuoksi. Sylvian isä aloittaa ristiretken koulujen erottelun lopettamiseksi Kaliforniassa. Kirjailija Winifred Conkling kutoo kauniisti yhteen nämä kaksi todellista tarinaa valtavasta rohkeudesta ja uskollisuudesta epäoikeudenmukaisuuden ja rasismin edessä tämän myrskyisän ajanjakson aikana Amerikan historiassa.
Opiskelijat voivat tiivistää ja havainnollistaa tarinan juoni kuvakäsikirjoituksessa, joka korostaa esitystä ja konflikteja, nousevaa toimintaa, huipentumaa / käännekohtaa, putoavaa toimintaa ja ratkaisua. Tämä kuvakäsikirjoitus näyttää sekä Sylvian että Akin tarinat vierekkäin 2x5-ruudukossa.
EXPOSITION / CONFLICT
"Where is Aki now? And, why can't I go to Westminster school?"
"There cannot be justice for one unless there is justice for all."
CLIMAX / TURNING POINT
Westminster Main School
GRADUATING CLASS OF 1955
"You did it Dad. You're the one I'm proudest of today."
Sylvia Méndez moved to Westminster, CA to an asparagus farm that her father leased from the Munemitsu family. Sylvia wondered about the little girl who owned the pretty doll hidden in the closet. Sylvia was excited to attend a new school in her neighborhood but when she tried to register, the school told Sylvia and her brothers they must go to a school for Mexican children, much farther away, simply because they are of Mexican descent.
"How am I a threat to national security?My entire world cannot fit into one tiny suitcase."
Sylvia and her brothers attend the "Mexican school" but it is not adequately funded and Sylvia's father believes keeping his children from the Westminster school was blatant racism. He worked hard with a lawyer to bring a suit against the school district. The superintendent finally relented and said that the Méndez children could go to Westminster. But, Mr. Méndez refused unless ALL students could attend regardless of race or ethnicity, which the superintendent refused.
"When will be able to see Pop?"
"I'm imprisoned in this camp, being denied my rights as a U.S. citizen, and I have to prove my loyalty?"
The case proceeded and in 1945, Gonzalo Méndez v. Westminster School District of Orange County was heard in front of the U.S. District Court in Orange County California. The school district argued that children of Mexican descent should be separated from white children because of racist beliefs that they were inferior. Sylvia couldn't believe what she was hearing. These racist claims were so hurtful and untrue.
"That's not how I imagined peace would look."
"How can a man swear to tell the truth and then lie like that? Is he right? Is something wrong with me?"
Sylvia's father showed her the importance of fighting for what you believe in. Through it all, the family worked hard on the Munemitsu's farm and always made sure that the rent money went directly to them and not taken by the censors who oversaw the mail at the internment camp. When it was time for the Munemitsus to finally return after the war was over, the Méndez family gladly welcomed them home. Sylvia treasured the doll that Aki gave to her as a parting gift.
"You have no idea how much I missed her!"
In 1946, Judge McCormick ruled that "Mexican children in Orange County, CA had the legal right to go to school with white children and that separating students by race suggests inferiority among them where none exists." This paved the way for the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board of Education, which made segregation illegal throughout the country. When Sylvia graduated high school in 1955, she looked at her classmates of all races and gave thanks to her father for never giving up.
"Even after the internment camps, my father still believed in the American dream. He wanted to help other families save money and start over."
Aki Munemitsu's world is turned upside down on December 7, 1941 when the Empire of Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, bringing the United States and Japan to war. The government forced people of Japanese descent into internment camps. Aki's family could only bring what they could fit into one suitcase. Her father was taken to a separate camp ahead of the family because the government believed (without cause) that he was a threat to national security. Aki didn't get a chance to say goodbye.
The camp was a long way from Aki's family's lovely asparagus farm. Poston, Arizona was a desert that was unbearably hot in the summer and brutally cold in the winter. They were forced to live in a shoddy building with dozens of other families only separated by a wool blanket hung from the ceiling. Her brother was given a "loyalty test" that he had to answer and Aki was kept away from her father for years.
Finally, the family was reunited but they were still not allowed to leave the camp. In August, 1945, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, instantly killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and poisoning survivors with radiation. Japan surrendered and the Munemitsu family and other Japanese Americans were finally allowed to leave the camps and return home. Aki's family was lucky to have a home to return to. Others had lost their homes and their livelihoods.
ATOMIC BOMB HITS JAPAN
Sylvia and Aki were glad to be reunited as they had been pen pals throughout the ordeal. They exchanged their dolls with each other, a Japanese doll for Sylvia and a Mexican doll for Aki. The Mendez family welcomed the Munemitsu family home, where they took back ownership of the asparagus farm.
"I told you I'd keep her safe. Her best friend is Carmencita."
The Munemitsu family rebuilt their life after the internment and they strived to help others do the same. Mr. Munemitsu gave Japanese Americans who had been interned in the camps jobs on the farm so that they could recover their livelihoods. Despite the government's fears, "Not a single Japanese American citizen was found to be disloyal to the United States."
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