The book I am reviewing is Dear Miss Breed by Joanne Oppenheim which celebrates a remarkable librarian who is unknown to the American public at large, but is considered a hero by many Japanese-American survivors of internment.
Clara Breed was a children’s librarian in San Diego during WWII. When her young Japanese-American patrons were interned at Santa Anita Racetrack in 1942, she did not turn her back on them. She wrote all her Japanese American patrons, and sent them books along with other items that they and their families needed. A number of Japanese American artists sent Miss Breed art objects in thanks for the art supplies she sent them. Author Joanne Oppenheim discovered Miss Breed when she was attempting to locate a Japanese- American schoolmate. She read the story of this courageous librarian on the website of The National Japanese-American Museum at The Clara Breed Collection . This page is a finding aid for the digitized versions of letters that Clara Breed received from the interned children and young adults that she had served as a librarian. Oppenheim hoped that a book about a librarian who assisted Japanese Americans during WWII would help to prevent the United States from ever interning American citizens again. Continue reading