Thirty Minutes Over Oregon: A Japanese Pilot’s World War II Story

By: Marc Tyler Nobleman

Illustrator: Melissa Iwai

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.
Author’s note. Selected sources. Full-color illustrations created with watercolor and mixed media.

ISBN: 9780544430761

JLG Release: Jan 2019


Sensitive Areas: Harsh realities of war, Mention of seppuku (suicide)
Topics: Nobuo Fujita (1912–1997) , Japan , Kaigun (Imperial Japanese Navy) , Aviation , Biography , World War II (1939–1945) , Aerial operations , Aerial bombings , Japanese bomber pilots , Reconciliation , Twentieth-century history of Oregon , Brookings, Oregon , Military history

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Awards & Honors

2019 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award Honor
ALSC Notable Children's Books - 2019
Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens - 2019
CCBC Choices 2019 Choice: Historical People, Places, and Events
ILA Teachers' Choices - 2019

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

The Horn Book Magazine, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal

In this moving tale of war and reconciliation Nobleman relates the experiences of Japanese pilot Nobuo Fujita, who flew two bombing missions over Brookings, OR, in 1942 (causing little damage and no loss of life) and returned to the scene 20 years later at the town’s invitation to deliver a formal apology. What began as a then-controversial stunt In this moving tale of war and reconciliation Nobleman relates the experiences of Japanese pilot Nobuo Fujita, who flew two bombing missions over Brookings, OR, in 1942 (causing little damage and no loss of life) and returned to the scene 20 years later at the town’s invitation to deliver a formal apology. What began as a then-controversial stunt intended to promote local tourism turned into something more profound—a warm lifelong relationship, with exchanges of visits and gifts until his death in 1997. Iwai matches the account’s measured, matter-of-fact language with quiet watercolor scenes of a distant plane and a subdued explosion, of the dignified Fujita and his postwar family (who knew nothing of his missions until the invitation arrived), and of townsfolk welcoming him with a parade and ceremonies. Rather than adding a typical (and tedious) recap at the end, the author closes with a note on what drew him to this episode and an appreciation of the spirit shown on both sides, but particularly Fujita’s: “He went from fighting to uniting. Which took more courage?” VERDICT A worthy addition for younger middle graders.–John Peters, Children’s ­Literature ­Consultant, NY

Horn Book

While we remember December 7, 1941 (the date the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor), Nobleman and Iwai invite us to take a good look at September 9, 1942, when the Japanese dropped two bombs near Brookings, Oregon—the first time the continental U.S. had been attacked from the air. The fact that the author can tell this story more lightheartedly than While we remember December 7, 1941 (the date the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor), Nobleman and Iwai invite us to take a good look at September 9, 1942, when the Japanese dropped two bombs near Brookings, Oregon—the first time the continental U.S. had been attacked from the air. The fact that the author can tell this story more lightheartedly than not is attributable to both the limited damage the bombs caused (“meanwhile, the forest was burning…a bit”) and the remarkable reconciliation that took place many years later between the people of Brookings and the Japanese pilot who led the mission, Nobuo Fujita. As the subtitle indicates, this is Fujita’s story, from the submarine that surfaced to launch his plane (via catapult) to the target through his eventual return to Japan, the end of the war, and an invitation by the Brookings Jaycees in 1962 to visit the town for a Memorial Day service. Nobleman knows just the right tone to strike with this story, and he unfolds its events with a storyteller’s flair. Iwai’s line-and-watercolor illustrations, too, feel right, with a naturalistic cartooning that serves the story’s many settings—the dark Pacific, postwar Japan, Brookings both during the war and into the 1990s, when Fujita made a final visit to the town that would declare him an honorary citizen. There are several lessons here, organically made, and kids who come for the wartime action will be pulled along to the book’s ultimately pacific message. An author’s note provides sources. roger sutton

Book Details

ISBN

9780544430761

First Release

January 2019

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

940.54/28

Trim Size

10" x 11"

Page Count

40

Accelerated Reader

Level 5.7; Points: 0.5;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 8.4; Points: 3;

Lexile

Level 990L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Clarion

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Harsh realities of war, Mention of seppuku (suicide)

Topics

Nobuo Fujita (1912–1997), Japan, Kaigun (Imperial Japanese Navy), Aviation, Biography, World War II (1939–1945), Aerial operations, Aerial bombings, Japanese bomber pilots, Reconciliation, Twentieth-century history of Oregon, Brookings, Oregon, Military history,

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