A Novel Interest

Grace Sanders, Contributor

The current tenth graders recently read Farewell to Manzanar. This novel details the three years one family spent in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. In Mrs. Murray’s and Mrs. Worley’s English classes, students combined their understanding of the book with historical research, argument, and visual interest in creative projects.

Mrs. Worley shared, “This project gives students a perspective beyond the summer reading book. They see the connections to events in the book and how they fit in this complicated history.”

Mrs. Murray shared her favorite takeaways from the student projects. “The research aspect of the project was the main focus for the student groups. They poured themselves into the work and produced amazing presentations. Visually the projects were stunning and surpassed my expectations.”

 Mrs. Murray applauded the creative efforts of her students. “One group comprised of Lauren Gordon and Molly Halter recreated the Bombing of Pearl Harbor by painting the board to look like the attack and including boats and planes. Molly told me that her grandfather was a Marine and through his stories, she became interested in military history which is ultimately why she chose this topic to work on for this project. Millie Hoksbergen and Vivian Bermea chose to focus on the racism and Asian hate that formed throughout the novel. They discussed ways that the author felt degraded by Americans and how she overcame the events. The two promoted understanding and acceptance which is still a challenge in today’s society by referencing recent events in the news and organizations here on Bob Jones campus. Music was important to the individuals forced into the internment camps. Danielle Nguyen and Kate Merrell recreated a radio like the ones that could be found in the 1940s in Manzanar. The information shared informed the class about the Jive Bombers, a jazz group that performed in the camp. Sophia Kessler, Tucker Magonigal, Michael Irons, and Max Washburn also focused on music mentioned in the work by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston. They created albums that provided information about the songs and the artists. It was a light-hearted approach to a work that focused on a young girl’s struggle with being a Japanese-American.”  

If you’ve seen these impressive displays, you can tell that the students learned a great deal about this time in American history by reading these novels and deepening their understanding through research.