“Those Who Helped Us”

Written by Ken Mochizuki
Illustrated by Kiku Hughes

Through the eyes of twelve-year-old Sumiko, a Japanese American girl, we meet several of her fellow Americans who chose compassion over hate in the Second World War. Sumi, like her entire community in Seattle, WA was taken by soldiers and imprisoned at the Minidoka concentration camp in Idaho. Author Ken Mochizuki and artist Kiku Hughes bring this historical fiction graphic novel to life through the eyes of childhood. As a typical preteen, Sumi has her own insecurities, her own love of basketball, and her ability to recognize when someone is lending a compassionate hand. Through her, we meet teacher Ada Mahon, Reverend Emery Andrews, and many Quakers who stood by Japanese Americans when the rest of the country would not. A great introduction to the prison camps of the Second World War, and a great tool for getting students to understand what it means to be an upstander and not a bystander; of standing up for compassion when society tells you to hate. It is a sweet reminder that acts of kindness are not forgotten.

Suggestions for Educators:

1. Secure a copy of the graphic novel. Currently, due to shipping and supply chain constraints, the book will be released in fall 2022. Please email education@wingluke.org to reserve a copy!

2. Check out our museum curriculum on Japanese Americans. CLICK HERE FOR JAPANESE AMERICAN HISTORY CURRICULUM

3. Contact the Wing Luke Museum Education Department for additional resources and coaching on classroom implementation. education@wingluke.org

4. We do have an Educator Guide ready for you to get familiar with. Download the materials here:

Download These Accompanying Activities and Instructions

Chinese American Portrait Cards
Monologue Starter
Step Inside Handout
Step Inside Worksheet 
Storyboard Template 
The Final Word


Co-published by the Wing Luke Museum and Chin Music Press, this project was funded, in part, by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program.

Purchasing directly from Wing Luke Museum benefits our exhibits and programs. Join our waitlist to be notified.