I’ll ask you to forgive me for not writing the review that Write to Me deserves. Cynthia Grady has written a beautiful, powerful story about a librarian. And it’s all the more powerful because it’s true.
Clara Breed was a librarian in San Diego in 1942, when the U.S. government ordered the imprisonment of all Americans of Japanese ancestry. She could have done what so many people did. She could have done nothing at all.
But Clara Breed wasn’t the sort of person to see injustice and do nothing. She couldn’t stop the incarceration of the children that she served every day at her library. But she could stand up to it in her own way.
Clara Breed gave her library patrons stamped postcards and said, “Write to me. Wherever you are, let me know where you are and how you’re doing. Write to me.”
And they did. The children wrote to her, and she wrote back. She mailed books. She mailed more stamped postcards. She even visited them in the camps. She stood by them until they were finally free to come home.
Write to Me is a book, ultimately, about the power of kindness. The story is beautiful. And so are the illustrations. The images by Amiko Hirao are soft and gentle. And on every page, there are postcards. The postcards that the children sent to Clara Breed.
I want to say more about the book, but I had minor surgery last week, and I was completely unrealistic about how much I’d be able to do afterwards. I’m older than I used to be, and recovery takes just a bit longer. But I have been meaning to write a review of this book for weeks now, and I didn’t want to wait any longer.
Write to Me is full of quiet power. Like Clara Breed. It’s not to be missed.
Passage to Freedom: A Review: This is the story of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat and Orthodox Christian who saved the lives of many hundreds of Polish Jews during World War II.
Baseball Saved Us: A Review: The story of life and baseball in the Japanese internment camps, told from the point of view of a young boy.
Are You an Echo? A Review: An brief biography of Misuzu Kaneko, the best known and most beloved writer of poetry for children in Japan, along with a collection of her poems.