Love in the Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Love in the Library offers a tender picture of humanity and the miracle of love, and hope in the midst of a Japanese internment camp.

Love in the Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, illustrated by Yas Imamura. Candlewick, 2022. 32 pages.

Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8

Recommended For: Ages 4-8

Tama is one of many Japanese Americans who is incarcerated in an internment camp. Because she loves books, she tends the library where she finds escape through stories–but not enough to relieve the constant fear and anxiety.

Thankfully, there is another constant. George brings back a stack of books every day, along with his broad smile. Eventually Tama realizes that being human means that she can be honest about being frustrated and sad and confused, because being human also allows the two of them to fall in love.

Although the story offers a tender picture of romance in the midst of very trying circumstances, the author’s note at the end unfortunately assumes that fear and hate are part of the “American tradition,” as though such ideas are strange anywhere else in the world.

I enjoyed the illustrations which portray not only the dull grays and browns of living in the desert, but also bright spots of red and green indicating that there is still love and hope in the world. The best part? It’s based on the author’s grandparents.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Worldview/Moral Rating: 3 out of 5

Literary/Artistic Rating: 4 out of 5

Read more about our ratings here.

Related Reading From Redeemed Reader

A Review: Peace is a Chain Reaction is another story about another Japanese camp inmate who sought reconciliation with local residents and healing from the bitterness in the following decades.

A Resource: Valentine’s Day picture books (a round-up)

A Resource: Love and Laughter (a book list)

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