“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Monday, May 18, 2009

Denied, Detained, Deported • Nonfiction

Denied, Detained, Deported: Stories from the Dark Side of American Immigration
by Ann Bausum • with a poem foreword by Naomi Shihab Nye
April 2009 •
National Geographic Kids • Ages 10 and up
With painstaking research, an unerring eye for just the right illustration, and her unique narrative style, Bausum makes the history of immigration in American come alive for young people.
Story: The patriotic stories of hope that shape most immigration books are supplemented here by the lesser-known stories of those denied, detained, and deported. Ann Bausum's compelling book presents a revealing series of snapshots from the dark side of immigration history. The St. Louis, a ship filled with Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany sought refuge in American ports and was turned away, condemning many of its passengers to ultimately perish in the Holocaust. Japanese-Americans were rounded up during World War II and placed in detention centers—regardless of their patriotism—for security reasons. Emma Goldman was branded a dangerous extremist and sent back to Russia in 1919, after living 30 years in the United States. These are must-hear stories -- and Naomi Shihab Nye's poem -- "Statue of Liberty Dreams of Emma Lazarus, Awakens with Tears on Her Cheeks -- might just leave you with tears on your cheeks.
Includes more than 75 archival photos and illustrations; extensive back matter, including a comprehensive time line of U.S. immigration history; research notes; citations; resource guide; bibliography; and index.
Story behind the story: Author Ann Bausum, daughter of a history professor, grew up with a love for American history and a passion for research, and she explains the story of this book in this letter:

Dear Reader:

Denied, Detained, Deported confronts the dark side of U.S. immigration. The United States has rightly earned praise for welcoming immigrants to her shores, but plenty of mistakes have been made along the way, too. We’ve learned by trial and error—and are still learning today—when to tighten our borders, who to exclude, how to handle suspicions of disloyalty, and who to send away. These are the stories of the denied, detained, and deported.

I have chosen to put a human face on this topic. The three title chapters of the book look at individuals and their families as they coped with immigration policy gone wrong, whether because of racism, concerns over national security, political posturing, or economic anxiety. Readers can better identify with the challenges created during these periods of history when they become emotionally invested in individuals who lived through the times.

One thing that fascinates me about history is the way it echoes and repeats itself. That vibrancy helps make history relevant to young people today. We can read about the 19th-century exclusion of Chinese from citizenship and employment and thus bring greater appreciation to the complexity of contemporary immigration debates. We can study the fears that accompanied past threats to national security and thus measure current events with greater sophistication. We can humanize the impact of immigration policy by looking at individual stories and thus have greater compassion for immigrants everywhere.

I wonder if one reason young people aren’t more engaged in studying history is that we may focus more on teaching facts while forgetting that the word “story” is embedded in the term history. Stories are most engaging when they have dimension, villains, heroes, challenges, surprises, and dramatic outcomes. Our nation’s history is rich with just those qualities, and these are the stories I love to research and present to young people.

I wrote this book because I am an optimist. I believe that if we know more, try harder, and educate better, we will become a stronger nation and a happier people. By writing about the dark side of history, I hope to inspire young people to set a higher bar for their own generation. I hope that by embracing our past, by championing what we’ve done well, and by learning from what could have been done differently, we will live better as individuals and as a nation.

Best wishes for happy reading,
Ann Bausum

FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent and reviews are in the works; please check back and click on the "comments" link below to read what your colleagues have to say.


Stacy said...

Do not hesitate to get this book for your classroom or library. Once I saw the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC logo on the cover I knew I was in for a well documented reading experience. The layout of the book is nonthreatening to young readers with text double spaced for easier reading. Questions at the end of each section are open ended to spark new insights and commentary relates each topic to current events. The time line and extra resources at the back are excellent. I give this a solid 5!

roller coaster teacher said...

I teach ELA to grades 6, 7, 8. Too often the NY social studies curriculum covers an extremely broad range of US history, but lacks depth. Students who can handle the vast quantity of data are fine, but many find it overwhelming and too difficult to comprehend much less retain.

Pro's - the book adds personal stories to the study of immigration, and this alone provides students with more depth of understanding of a very complex social topic. Stories relating to 4 people (groups) would engage students to place immigration policies and history in various social contexts. The pictures (photos, illustrations) are engaging, the timeline at the end is helpful, the layout is easy to read.

Con's - the author's tone is quite critical and negative about US immigration policies. Students in this age group will see this book as "informational" and take all words at face value. They need to separate editorial content (leading questions such as "Can the country honor its commitment to freedom and democracy when it compromises those founding principles?") from factual information.

In conclusion, readers need to be sophisticated enough to understand the factual events and persuasive/editorial writing elements, provided those elements are taught by the teacher. I think 8th graders would benefit and enjoy using this book as a resource for social studies and even English language arts narrative study/writing.

Rating - 3.

PS - the sampler copy I received only contained a summary (not actual text) of chapters 4 & 5.

EShay said...

I was a bit nervous after looking at the cover of this book; it looked dark and a bit disturbing. However, I was pleased after reading it.
Most non-fiction is biased and this is no exception. The book takes a very critical look at immigration policies of the past 100 years or so. With that said, I believe it gives readers something to think about. I knew of the Japanese camps, but I was unaware of the situation regarding the other two chapters. I love it when I can learn!
It is a quick, easy read that goes into just enough detail to feel thrust into the stories. The narrative feel of the 3 middle chapters propel the reader.
The time line at the end is informative, but not easy on the eye.
I wish there was a bit more, but otherwise I was truly impressed with this book.
I give it a 5.

Danielle said...

The first thing I noticed was the National Geographic logo on the front cover. The book has a nice layout with a text format that is easy to read and accompanied by pictures. I especially liked the Timeline and Resource Guide at the end of the book. This would make a nice supplement to those learning about immigration and/or discrimination. (Chapter 3 provides some interesting information for those who may have heard the St. Louis voyage mentioned when reading accounts about the Holocaust.) I rate it 4 out of 5.

Anonymous said...

I found Denied, Detained, Deported to be a bit on the controversial side as it presented Emma Goldman and her anarchist colleagues in a positive, victimized light. I don’t know much about Emma Goldman, the ideas of anarchy and the circumstances that surrounded hers and her colleague’s deportation, so, I’m not sure if the book does a thorough job of addressing the ideas of anarchy and what exactly the anarchists of that time were doing. The book does do a good job of shifting blame of their deportation to politics and Red Scare, but I’m left questioning if Goldman and her colleagues were only, innocently presenting “anarchy as an alternative to the authority-style rule of a typical government” (27). I’m a doubter and don’t take everything I read as truth. So, for this reason, as a potential educator, I would do a more thorough research of my own before presenting the second chapter of this book into a classroom setting. I also encourage anyone else who reads this book to do the same.

On the other hand, I did enjoy the other chapters in the book, and thought they would be very useful in giving children and adults all over the world an insight into different mistakes that have been made in the past that should not be made again.

As a whole, I think the book will provoke good discussion and is a good supplement for history/social studies/government classes.

I give the book a Picnic Basket rating of 4 out of 5.

Sarah Oyerinde
Marion, Indiana

Lemon the Duck said...

What an eye-opening read! Not only is this book informative to students but it provides questions as springboards for discussions and higher level thinking. The back matter allows the reader to extend their learning beyond the book and is an excellent resource.
I think this book will spark readers' interest and motivate them to find out more.
I understood the message was to uncover the negetive side of immigration but felt it to be a little too negetive for the target audience.
I rate this book a 4 out of 5.
Laura Backman
Reading Specialist
Author of "Lemon the Duck"

m.otoole said...

"Denied, Detained, Deported • Nonfiction" is a great addition to the school library where I work. We have a struggle for justice curriculum theme each year, and this book fits right in with that theme. I think a book that shows the parts of U.S. that we might now be proud of is a very important type of book to have in a library, it helps show students how far we have come in terms of human rights, and it also gives perspective to current events today. I give this book a 4 out of 5, and will display it with pride in my library.

Christina said...

Denied, Detained, Deported is an impressive book, well-organized and clearly illustrated. The contrasting poems start it off on an intriguing note. The introduction gives us a teaser of the personal lives we can expect to explore, but I feel the book fails to live up to those expectations. Chapters 2, 3 and 4 are the most readable because they are more personal and narrative, but overall I found the author’s tone heavy-handed and biased. I agree with a previous comment that students will have a hard time separating factual information from persuasive technique at this level. I will, however, display this book in my 8th grade classroom library because it highlights important events in our history, some of which I was unaware myself. It is a good introduction to these dark times and a jumping-off point for further research. Rating = 2.

Susan Appleton said...

I think this book does a good job at giving some first hand accounts of the immigration process although I do think it is a bit biased in it's opinion of the immigration system we have here in this country. Having a husband who immigrated here from Canada and a daughter that we're adopting from China, we have had a lot of first-hand experience with the Immigration department and I think they are pretty well-organized and fair. Now, in all fairness, maybe they haven't ALWAYS been this way, but I think the intentions of the department have always been to protect our country and to be as fair as possible to those wishing to immigrate to our country. Anyhow, the book is well organized and thought-provoking and I would give it a 4/5. I learned a lot myself while reading it which is always a plus!

StacyB said...

If you are looking for a book that will give middle/high school readers a starting point for research, this may be a good place to start. I found myself learning new information but hoping for more personal stories at times. The author does a fine job of presenting information, which may not shine the best light on America but needs to be told. This book would be good addition to a classroom library but plan on having a discussion with your readers during their discovery of information.

Barbara said...

This book presents the "other side", often left out of middle school texts. Immigration is a controversial and complex concept, and these chapters present the back stories that can spark discussions and create connections with current events.

The format is reader friendly, the pages feel substantial, and photographs and diary excerpts help the themes to resonate.

Our country's policy toward immigrants has changed as our politics have changed. This is brought out, along with questions that need to be considered, both as if we were living in that actual time period and also with the historical perspective that the passage of time gives us.

This book would be a beneficial resource with 8th grade (and older) US history classes.

Rating: 5

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed in this book as I was expecting it to be stories of immigration to the United States; however, I found "opinions" and not always the facts. I give this book a 2.