See below for high school education recommended reading*, viewing, and activities for students in grades 9 – 12 about the “Heart Mountain Relocation Center” and Japanese American Confinement during World War II.
Tours are available for all age groups. Tour can be customized to best fit the high school education goals of each class. Book your field trip HERE.
Need help? Check out our suggested activities below or contact us for other curriculum suggestions.
*Most of the books and movies below are available through the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation online store.
The true story of one spirited Japanese American family’s attempt to survive the indignities of forced detention and of a native-born American child who discovered what it was like to grow up behind barbed wire in the United States.
Free to Die For their Country by Eric Muller
In the spring of 1942, the federal government forced West Coast Japanese Americans into detainment camps on suspicion of disloyalty. Two years later, the government demanded even more, drafting them into the same military that had been guarding them as subversives. Most of these Americans complied, but Free to Die for Their Country is the first book to tell the powerful story of those who refused. Based on years of research and personal interviews, Eric L. Muller re-creates the emotions and events that followed the arrival of those draft notices, revealing a dark and complex chapter of America’s history.
Letters from the 442 by Minoru Masuda, Hana Masuda and Dianne Bridgman
This is the first collection of letters by a member of the legendary 442nd Combat Team, which served in Italy and France during World War II. Written to his wife by a medic serving with the segregated Japanese American unit, the letters describe a soldier’s daily life.
A story of a Chinese boy who grows into a man during WWII and how he tried to live by his beliefs after befriending a Japanese American girl. (Fiction)
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
In 1954 a fisherman is found drowned near San Piedro Island and a Japanese American named Kubuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder. (Fiction)
Kiku, a modern-day Japanese American, is visiting her late grandmother’s house in San Francisco when she is suddenly pulled back in time to 1940s California. Faced with the challenges of forced relocation and imprisonment, Kiku not only witnesses how Japanese Americans managed to create community and commit acts of resistance but gains a deeper understanding of her grandmother. (Fiction)
Fourteen Japanese American teenagers find their lives turned upside down when they are removed from their homes and forced into incarceration camps. In a world that seems determined to hate them, these young Nisei must rally together as racism and injustice threaten to pull them apart. (Fiction)
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Okazaki, whose own father was sent to Heart Mountain, captures this essential piece of history in a way that is both compelling and relatable: providing vivid accounts of daily life in the camps as well as the resilience of those imprisoned there.
Days of Waiting is a poignant documentary about an extraordinary woman, artist Estelle Ishigo, one of the few Caucasians to be interned with 110,000 Japanese Americans in 1942. During her internment, Estelle recorded the rigors and deprivations of camp life with unusual insight, her sketches and watercolors forming a moving portrait of the lives of the internees, the struggle to keep their health, dignity and hope alive.
A Flicker in Eternity is the coming-of-age tale of Stanley Hayami, a talented young teenager caught between his dream of becoming a writer/artist and his duty to his country. Based on Hayami’s own diary (like the book, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl), this documentary is the firsthand account of a 15-year-old thrust into the turmoil of World War II and is a poignant reminder of the indignity of incarceration and the tragedy of war. Through Stanley’s endearing cartoons and witty observations, this film chronicles his life behind barbed wire and as a soldier in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. It is based on his diary and letters, which are archived at the Japanese American National Museum, and Joanne Oppenheim’s annotations from Stanley Hayami, Nisei Son.