by Kiku Hughes
Teen Graphic Novel

Displacement by Kiku Hughes is a deeply moving graphic novel. It chronicles a woman of Japanese descent as she grapples and reconciles with her family’s history alongside her nation’s history. I found the book extremely well written and, at the same time, an instructive read about Asian-American internment camps during World War II.

Displacement recounts an autobiographical and fantasy experience of Kiku herself. The narrative sees Kiku transported back as a teenager to accompany and live alongside her grandmother during her time spent in an interment camp. Through this first-person experience, Kiku not only gains a greater appreciation for her personal history, but gets a more detailed look at a part of American history that is often neglected. This experience, to some extent, allows her to bear witness to the traumas suffered during this period as she observes (and in part falls victim to) the denial of fundamental human liberties lived by her grandmother and others. At the same time, Kiku is able to participate, in her own way, in the cultivation of her community, as well as in the acts of resistance that her community developed simply to survive.

Since the story is told from the point of view of a teen, it’s appropriate reading for adolescents and adults alike. Highly recommended!

Review by Dan