I know, I know, I am one lucky duck. Not only did the amazing Stephanie Lile select my story, Sayonara, to include in the brand new e-zine, Columbia Kids, she somehow bribed the talented and kind Richard Jesse Watson to illustrate it!

This historical short story is based on an actual event. When the notices about Executive Order 9066 were posted in Seattle on April 21, 1942, Japanese Americans learned they had only a few weeks to get their affairs in order before being gathered up and shipped to “internment” camps. Each family could take only what they could carry. And no pets allowed.

One couple from Bainbridge had a German Shepherd, King. When they were forced to evacuate, King jumped in the truck with them.

When the soliders tried to pull him out, he growled and nipped at them. Finally, the couple had to drag him out of the truck. Left behind, the heart-broken King refused to eat and within a few weeks was gone.

The story I wrote focused on a young boy forced to leave his German Shepherd, Prince, behind. Thanks to my dad, I got some great details about baseball games a boy might play by himself, with help from a faithful four-footed friend. The story does a pretty good job of conveying the losses the Japanese-Americans experienced in WWII — the illustrations Richard did take the story to a completely new dimension. I still cannot believe this happened in our country.

I am so grateful that Stephanie selected my story and that RJW illustrated it with such heart.