We Are Not Free

Finalist, National Book Awards 2020 for Young People's Literature

ISBN 9780358131434
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
author photo of raci Chee. (Photo credit: Topher Simon)
Traci Chee

Traci Chee is a best-selling and award-winning author of books for young people, including the instant New York Times bestseller and Kirkus Prize Finalist The Reader and Printz Honoree, Walter Honoree, and National Book Award Finalist We Are Not Free. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

“All around me, my friends are talking, joking, laughing. Outside is the camp, the barbed wire, the guard towers, the city, the country that hates us.

We are not free.

But we are not alone.”

From New York Times bestselling and acclaimed author Traci Chee comes We Are Not Free, the collective account of a tight-knit group of young Nisei, second-generation Japanese American citizens, whose lives are irrevocably changed by the mass U.S. incarcerations of World War II.

Fourteen teens who have grown up together in Japantown, San Francisco.

Fourteen teens who form a community and a family, as interconnected as they are conflicted.

Fourteen teens whose lives are turned upside down when over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry are removed from their homes and forced into desolate 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.

Judges Citation

Told through the voices of fourteen Nisei friends, We Are Not Free by Traci Chee is a nuanced narrative of the Japanese American experience during World War II. As each young person deals with the disruption that incarceration imposes on their life, we see anger, disappointment, resistance, and reluctant compliance. But this is also a book about friendships, falling in love, and choosing how to live when control is taken from you, giving this ambitious novel a timeless relevance.