Courageous Footsteps

A WWII Novel

by Diane Dettmann


Book Details



Fifteen-year-old Yasu Sakamoto loves living in Glenville, California, but Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 turns her young life into a devastating nightmare. Anti-Japanese threats appear everywhere—in store windows, painted across buildings and in her school. Her hopes and dreams unravel quickly when President Roosevelt orders the internment of all people of Japanese descent living along the West Coast. Within weeks her family is imprisoned in a camp in eastern California. Surrounded by barbwire fences and the constant watch of armed guards, Yasu and her older brother, Haro, struggle to accept the overcrowded living conditions and hardships of camp life. As time passes, the confinement, strict regulations and humiliation force them to make courageous choices that will change their lives forever.

" Once read, Courageous Footsteps will not be forgotten. Teenagers, Yasu and Haro, show resilience and courage in the face of unwarranted hardship and injustice. It’s an important story— relevant even today—that needs to be discussed, remembered and hopefully will inspire the reader with the courage to stand on the side of justice.” —Ann Wolff, President of the Stillwater Public Library Foundation

“Absolutely wonderful! Great character development and the suspense kept me reading. I couldn’t put the book down!” —Christina Hintze, Graduated Student, Metropolitan State University "

“Courageous Footsteps is a poetically written novel that emotionally engages readers of all ages, while educating them about the world’s historical and cultural challenges in our recent history. This beautifully written story involves the reader in the characters’ lives, future hopes and dreams. I praise Diane Dettmann for her courageous writing of challenging circumstances and heartfelt emotions.” —Kelly McNelis, Founder of Women For One

“This compelling story pulled me in from the first page, and I felt deeply for the hardships Yasu, Haro and their parents were forced to endure.” —Jane Dunlap, Teacher, St. Paul Public School

Sequel, YASU'S QUEST: A TALE OF TRIUMPH released July 2016! A powerful story of a young Japanese- American woman's determination to overcome hardships and injustices and capture her life-long dreams.


Book Excerpt

While Haro was out for the evening, Yasu and her mother sat around the radio with a pile of mending for Mrs. Bollin, the wife of the Glenville Power Company manager. Worried about father, Yasu turned on the radio. She waited until the tube warmed up and voices crackled from the speaker and then tuned in a local station with the least amount of static. She snuggled into the rocking chair and waited for her favorite Sunday night broadcast. Organ music flowed through the speaker, followed by the announcer’s voice.

“Welcome to the Pan American Coffee Bureau’s broadcast from Washington, D.C. We bring you a serious announcement about Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.”

Eleanor Roosevelt’s voice welcomed the listeners. “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Congress and military officials are with the president. Soon they will release a full report and plan for action. Many sons and husbands will be called to support America and face our enemy, Japan. We must show the world that America is powerful and dedicated to freedom. Even the young people listening tonight need to support America. We must be strong. Thank you and good night.”

As the two of them sat in silence, the radio filled the bungalow with the sound of Tommy Dorsey’s band playing “I’ll Never Smile Again.” Yasu slowly pushed the needle up through the thin fabric of Mr. Bollin’s white shirt. Every few stitches, she glanced at the clock. When the chime rang ten times and there was no sign of her father, they packed their mending baskets and turned out the lights.


About the Author

Diane Dettmann

DIANE DETTMANN is the author of Twenty-Eight Snow Angels A Widow’s Story of Love, Loss and Renewal. She is also the co-author of Miriam Daughter of Finnish Immigrants and has written articles for the national Women’s Voices for Change organization in New York City.

Recently interviewed by Barry ZeVan "The Weatherman" a TV celebrity. On YouTube

Books available at VALLEY BOOKSELLER in Stillwater, MN


Also various independent bookstores and online bookstores. UPCOMING 2019 EVENTS COMING SOON! Diane Dettmann-Blogger

Also by Diane Dettmann

Miriam Daughter of Finnish Immigrants
Twenty-Eight Snow Angels: A Widow's Story of Love, Loss and Renewal
Yasu's Quest
On Liberty's Wings


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