“Being from the Future meant very little when my education on the past was so limited” – Kiku
Synopsis: It’s the summer of 2016 and Kiku is on vacation in San Francisco with her mom when she is suddenly transported back to the 1940s. She doesn’t call this time travel, but rather a displacement. She has no control over it and doesn’t understand why it’s happening to her. It happens twice briefly while in San Francisco, and Kiku thinks that it’s over when she and her mom return Seattle. But then it happens one more time and Kiku finds herself stuck in a Japanese Internment Camp. While Kiku adapts to what could be her new life, she is stunned to learn that her great grandparents and her grandmother are at the same camp. Kiku never met her grandmother as she died before she was her born, and Kiku’s mother hardly talks about her or her life in the Topaz Internment Camp. One thing that Kiku realizes is that even though she is from the future, she knows nothing about these camps and the injustices Japanese-Americans faced.
Review: Displacement by Kiku Hughes is another prime example of how graphic novels can be used to teach readers of all ages about events in history, whether recent or ancient. Whether it is purely as a graphic memoir like They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, or as a piece of historical fiction that is largely based on actual events and research done by the author as we see here. Kiku’s character has the realization that she doesn’t know anything about her grandmother or about the internment of Japanese-Americans in the 1940s. This is largely due to the fact that it wasn’t taught in schools, but also because her grandmother didn’t talk about it when she was alive. Not talking about traumatic experiences and injustices that groups of people have faced is common. Many Holocaust survivors didn’t talk about their experiences right away if at all. Through Kiku’s experiences in this story, and Kiku’s research for this graphic novel, readers will learn about the experiences of Japanese-Americans as well as the long-standing effects that are still felt generations later.
Kiku placed this story on the backdrop of the 2016 United States presidential election. The presidency that followed that election was fraught with hate filled speech against immigrants and started with a travel ban of seven Muslim countries. And today we continue to see the effects of hate speech as crimes against Asian American Pacific Islander communities has continued to rise. Hate crimes towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders can be reported to StopAAPIHate.org.
Release date: August 18th, 2020; First Second
Page count: 288
Genre: Historical Fiction
Audience: Young Adult