Michi Challenges History: From Farm Girl to Costume Designer to Relentless Seeker of the Truth: The Life of Michi Nishiura Weglyn

Norton. Mar. 2023. 160p. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781324015888.
Gr 7 Up–Mochizuki presents a biography of Michi Nishiura Weglyn, whose fight for justice and acknowledgment of wartime wrongs against Japanese American citizens demonstrates what one motivated individual can achieve in the name of right. The daughter of Japanese immigrants who worked as farmers in California, Weglyn and her family were confined in the Gila River, AZ, internment camp after Pearl Harbor. Mochizuki describes how she continued her education in the internment camp, earning accolades and recognition for her scholastic achievements. Weglyn received a full scholarship to Mount Holyoke, where she discovered her passion for art, fashion, and design. After a difficult round with tuberculosis, she focused on costume design and switched her studies to the Fashion Academy of New York. In New York, she met her husband, Walter Weglyn, a Holocaust survivor. Mochizuki skillfully describes how Weglyn’s passion for justice and honesty led to her writing Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America’s Concentration Camps in response to Attorney General Ramsey Clark’s 1968 assertion that America had never had concentration camps. The thoroughness and eloquence of her work garnered acclaim and she became a recognized international resource for those seeking redress compensation until her death in 1999. Mochizuki utilizes numerous primary sources to make Weglyn’s remarkable life come alive for readers. Back matter includes end notes, selected bibliography, index, and photo acknowledgments.
VERDICT Recommended for all readers. Fans of Traci Chee’s We Are Not Free will be particularly drawn to this work.

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