Take What You Can Carry

by Kevin C. Pyle

Two story lines separated by thirty-five years converge in a graphic novel that begins... read more

Two story lines separated by thirty-five years converge in a graphic novel that begins with a wordless, sepia-toned story of a teenage boy in a Japanese American internment camp during World War II. A few pages later, the story shifts to 1978. Clean-lined blue-and-white panels with words show a teenage boy and a friend nervously awaiting pickup at the police station after being caught stealing from a small grocery store. As punishment for the crime, Kyle begins working for the store’s owner, Mr. Himitsu, a Japanese American man. Kevin C. Pyle moves back and forth between the story of Mr. Himitsu’s adolescence in the internment camp, where he is lucky enough to have a mentor who helps him find a creative outlet for his frustration and anger, and Kyle, mired in anger over suburban boredom and frustration at home. He had fallen in with a group of boys whose troublemaking escalated along with Kyle’s desire to impress them—a spiral that is palpably real—but is affected by the reality of his friend, who faces real danger from an abusive father, and the time he spends with Mr. Himitsu, who has intentionally reached out in an echo of his own youth. Pyle explores the impact of choices and meaningful connections in a spare and affecting work. (Age 12 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013

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