Joy Kogawa


A must-read about a shocking episode in Canadian history, Obasan offers a heart-wrenching portrait of the internment and persecution of Japanese-Canadians during the Second World War, as seen through the eyes of a small child. After the death of her uncle, Naomi Nakane, a thirty-something teacher, visits her newly widowed aunt, Aya (called "Obasan," meaning "Aunt"). Together they piece together the devastating story of Naomi and her family's wartime experiences three decades earlier. Winner of the Books in Canada First Novel Award in 1981.

Obasan is for readers ages 16 and up.


Mother removes the live chicks first, placing them in her apron . . . there is calm efficiency in her face and she does not speak. Her eyes are steady and matter-of-fact - the eyes of Japanese motherhood. They do not invade and betray. They are eyes that protect, shielding what is hidden most deeply in the heart of the child.

From Obasan by Joy Kogawa ©1981. Published by Penguin Canada.