What might be some arguments in favor of teaching Eyes of the Emperor (a novel by Graham Salisbury) in elementary or secondary school?

Expert Answers
vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although Eyes of the Emperor, a novel by Graham Salisbury, might be too intense a book for elementary school readers, one might argue that it is certainly appropriate to readers in high schools. Arguments in favor of teaching it there might include the following:

  • The main character, Eddy Okubo, is sixteen. High school students might therefore be able to relate to his experiences.
  • The novel is set during World War II and thus would help acquaint adolescent readers with that important period in American history.
  • The novel is based on real events and would thus have added historical value.
  • The novel deals with issues of racial prejudice and discrimination from which American society is still not entirely free.
  • The novel highlights the experiences of Japanese Americans, a group that is not often featured in fiction.
  • The novel deals with generational differences – a perennially relevant theme.
  • The novel deals with adolescent friendships – another perennially relevant theme.
  • At a time when many young men and women are taking part in wars, the themes of war and patriotism in this novel seem highly relevant.
  • At a time when the patriotism of some Americans is being questioned because of their ethnic identities, the emphasis on ethnic prejudice in this book is highly relevant.
  • The novel deals with achieving respect despite enormous odds – a theme likely to appeal to many adolescents. At the end of the book, Eddy and his friends are commended by a superior officer:

"You've proved your worth and your loyalty ten times over...even in the minds of your most stalwart critics."

  • The novel has been recommended by professional reviewers and regular readers, and one  of the latter, a teacher, says on Amazon.com that her students reacted to the book with enthusiasm:

"Whoa!" "Cool!" "What detail": These are the kind of comments my 7th grade students made when I read them an excerpt from Chapters 16 and 17 of EYES OF THE EMPEROR.