The Pigtail Twins


Title The Pigtail Twins
Author Anne M. Halladay
Illustrator Janet Smalley
Publisher Friendship Press
Publication Date 1943
Pages 126
WorldCat Link http://www.worldcat.org/title/pigtail-twins/oclc/1003744

Children's book published in 1943 that may have been the first book-length work of fiction to mention the Japanese American exclusion and incarceration, if obliquely. The book was authored by Anne M. Halladay and published by Friendship Press.

The 126 page book is set in "Mountain Valley," Colorado, and centers around a third grade class taught by Miss Emeline that includes children of German, Italian, Japanese, and Mexican descent, as well as other white students of indeterminate origin—including the twin sisters of the title—referred to as "native Americans." The story is about how the children's friendships forged in the classroom and a devoted teacher help the parents and larger community overcome their prejudices.

Among the students in the class as the book begins is Kasumi Ozamoto, described as the "child of a Japanese market gardener." One of the book's subplots involves the arrival of his cousins, Tooru and Satoko Oyama. In announcing their arrival, Miss Emeline tells the class "Tooru and Satoko have come from California to live with Kasumi and his mother and father. Now they will not have to go to one of the wartime camps."[1] No additional explanation is provided. We later meet the Ozamoto and Oyama mothers, sisters who appear to be Nisei and Christian, though Kasumi's mother doesn't speak English well. Mrs. Oyama, who had taught English in California, later offers to teach an English class for Issei in the area.

Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho

For More Information

Halladay, Anne M. The Pigtail Twins. New York: Friendship Press, 1943.

Footnotes

  1. Anne M. Halladay, The Pigtail Twins (New York: Friendship Press, 1943), 33.