An Orbis Pictus Honor Book for Outstanding Nonfiction 2019
In this important and moving true story of reconciliation after war, beautifully illustrated in watercolor, a Japanese pilot bombs the continental U.S. during WWII—the only enemy ever to do so—and comes back 20 years later to apologize.
The devastating attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, drew the United States into World War II in 1941. But few are aware that several months later, the Japanese pilot Nobuo Fujita dropped bombs in the woods outside a small town in coastal Oregon. This is the story of those bombings, and what came after, when Fujita returned to Oregon twenty years later, this time to apologize.
This remarkable true story, beautifully illustrated in watercolor, is an important and moving account of reconciliation after war.
Nobleman (Fairy Spell) tells the little-known story of the only airplane bombing of the U.S. mainland during WWII from a plane launched from a submarine via catapult. The book focuses on Nobuo Fujita, the Japanese pilot who flew the missions. Initial pages detail the September 1942 bombings of Oregon timberland, one early in the morning and one at night, in hopes of igniting a forest fire. The second half of the book describes later reconciliation visits between the pilot and residents of the tiny coastal town of Brookings: "Nobuo donated thousands of dollars to the town, specifically so that the library could buy children's books that celebrate other cultures." He also hosted high school students from Brookings, planted a tree at the bomb site, and, after he died, even had some of his ashes spread there: "A flutist played a solo combining the national anthems of Japan and America." Pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations by Iwai (So Small! Yosemite) deftly convey the story's many emotions. Full-color spreads and vignettes match a clear narrative that pays tribute to a change of heart and the importance of cultural understanding. Ages 6 9.