66 pages 2 hours read

We Are Not Free

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2020

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Teacher Introduction

We Are Not Free

  • Genre: Fiction; young adult historical
  • Originally Published: 2020
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 860L; grades 9-12
  • Structure/Length: 16 chapters; approximately 400 pages; approximately 10 hours, 26 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist/Central Conflict: The novel follows 14 San Francisco teenagers of Japanese descent during World War II. The central conflict revolves around their experiences with forced relocation, “internment” camps, racism, and the struggle to maintain their dignity and identity amidst injustice.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Racism; anti-Asian racist language; forced relocation and imprisonment in incarceration camps; wartime violence; innocent deaths; profanity

Traci Chee, Author

  • Bio: American author known for her young adult novels; work often features diverse characters and complex narratives; holds a degree in English from the University of California—Santa Cruz and an MFA in creative writing from San Francisco State University
  • Other Works: The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold #1, 2016); The Speaker (Sea of Ink and Gold #2, 2017); The Storyteller (Sea of Ink and Gold #3, 2018)
  • Awards: National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature (2020); Michael L. Printz Honor (2021); Walter Dean Myers Award (2021); Asian/Pacific American Award for Youth Literature (2022)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Guide:

  • The Injustice of Government-Sanctioned Racism
  • The Power of Friendship and Family: “We are not free.

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