Skip to main content

Preorders open for State Historical Society book on untold Black Hills Japanese American story

An upcoming book for young readers from the South Dakota State Historical Society is now available for preorder at sdhspress.com. “A Place for Harvest: The Story of Kenny Higashi,” written by Lauren R. Harris and illustrated by Felicia Hoshino, focuses on the community of Spearfish and the experience of Kenny Higashi ahead of and during World War II.

Opening on a small-town boy with a big heart, “A Place for Harvest” follows Higashi as he works on his family’s vegetable farm in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Then Japan attacks Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and everything changes.

“In the United States, thousands of Japanese American families across the country were forced out of their homes and into internment camps, but we don’t often think of this happening to South Dakotans,” says South Dakota Historical Society Press Director Dedra McDonald Birzer. “The Higashi family was told that one of their sons must fight or his family would be relocated. In their interviews, Kenny told author Lauren Harris about how his community came together in support of his family and how his childhood in the Black Hills prepared him for surviving overseas.”

Higashi joined the 100th Infantry Battalion, becoming a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. It was made up of Nisei, descendants of Japanese American immigrants. The unit’s motto was “Go for Broke” for their doggedness in battle, and today Higashi and his unit are remembered for their brave actions during World War II. In 2019, Higashi was awarded France’s highest medal of distinction, the French Legion of Honor, for his actions decades prior during the war.

Few children’s stories detail experiences like Higashi’s, and by basing her account on his memories, Harris created a true story of community, hope, and determination. Illustrator Hoshino transports readers as they follow a young man from the heart of the United States to European battlefields.

Harris grew up in a military family and has written for the Rapid City Journal, Down Country Roads, and Black Hills Pioneer. She continues to research and write about the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

Hoshino is the prize-winning illustrator of multiple children’s books. Her family was incarcerated at the Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho and the Poston Internment Camp in Arizona, and, like Higashi, her uncle served in the 442nd.

“A Place for Harvest: The Story of Kenny Higashi” can be preordered for $19.95, plus shipping and tax, at sdhspress.com. Booksellers can contact orders@sdhspress.com to place orders for their business. For more information about the South Dakota Historical Society Press and its books, please visit sdhspress.com and follow @sdhspress on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For information about membership in the State Historical Society, call 605-773-6000.

About the South Dakota State Historical Society
The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Education. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution since 2013, is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, the archives, and the historic preservation, publishing, and administrative/development offices. Call 605-773-3458 or visit www.history.sd.gov for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call 605-394-1936 for more information.

Powered by Firespring