Thin Wood Walls (Hardcover)

By David Patneaude

Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 9780618342907, 240pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 2004



Eleven-year-old Joe Hanada likes playing basketball with his best friend, Ray, writing plays and stories, and thinking about the upcoming Christmas holiday. But his world falls apart when Japanese planes bomb Pearl Harbor. His country goes to war. The FBI takes his father away. And neighbors and friends in his hometown near Seattle begin to suspect Joe, his family, and all Japanese Americans of spying for the enemy.
When the government orders people of Japanese heritage living on the West Coast to move to internment camps, Joe turns to the journal his father gave him to record his thoughts and feelings. Writing journal entries and haiku poetry offers some relief as Joe struggles to endure life in Tule Lake War Relocation Camp—days filled with boredom, concern for his father, and worry for his brother, who joins the American army to prove the bravery and loyalty of Japanese American citizens. Thin Wood Walls is a powerful story of a boy who grows up quickly in a changed world.

Praise For Thin Wood Walls

"Unique. . . [A] well-written novel." School Library Journal

The author does a fine job of bringing the daily experience up close through the story of an American kid torn from home.
Booklist, ALA

Mriad small humiliations, erupting prejudices, and gross violations of justice are clearly portrayed, though, and readers who've paid any attention to nightly news can draw their own parallels to the imperilment of civil rights in times of national crisis.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Joe's first-person narrative is moving and clear in its depiction of the life, so cruel and unfair.
Kirkus Reviews

Intricate and informative, the story portrays the clash of love and prejudice with depth and even humor.
VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)