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Three Years and Eight Months

by Icy Smith
Illustrated by Jennifer Kindert

Published by East West Discovery, 2013
44 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9856237-8-4

Ages 7-10

After the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong during World War II, Choi’s mother is taken away by soldiers while he remains with his Uncle Kim. Conditions in Hong Kong are terrible—women and girls are taken away; others are forced into slavery; many are dying of starvation—but Choi and his friend Taylor are treated kindly by one Japanese soldier, who helps them get jobs on a military base. This not only provides them with more food, it puts the boys in the position to steal medical supplies and pass on information to Uncle Kim. They also discover where Choi’s mother and other women are being held—a small comfort that’s better than none at all. Icy Smith, whose father was a slave of the Japanese in Hong Kong as a child, writes a compelling yet restrained account of this time and place in history. The hardships are vivid but she refrains from revealing too many details for a child audience. This lengthy, illustrated picture book story for older readers includes an informative essay with black-and-white photographs providing more information about the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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