- Pearl Harbor Child: An Eye Witness to History
Dorinda Makanaonalani Nicholson tells us what it was like to dig bullets out of her kitchen wall, and what it was like to carry a gas mask everywhere.
She not only provides us with a child’s unsophisticated view–from the vantage point of 60 years later, she also enriches that account with today’s deeper understanding after September 11, 2001. Six years old, living with her parents on the Pearl City Peninsula, a finger of land that extends into the harbor. On December 7, 1941, virtually the entire American naval fleet was peacefully anchored within a few hundred yards of her home. When the Japanese planes attacked those ships, some flew directly over her home on the way to their unsuspecting targets in the harbor. They flew so low she could see the pilot’s goggles as they passed.
This is the first civilian eyewitness account of the attack as seen through the eyes of a child. Pearl Harbor Child is a child’s story, but not just for children. It is a voice from WWII that has not been heard before. The voice is that of an American child who tells what she saw, how it felt, what happened on that day and through the balance of what became World War II. Pearl Harbor Child was originally published by the Arizona Memorial Museum Association, and contains more than 100 photographs, plus a two-page map that pinpoints major events.
After the attack, Dorinda describes the years that followed, as she experienced martial law, rationing, blackouts, air raid drills, victory gardens, curfews, censorship, and much more. She recalls her dog, “Hula Girl,” and what happened when Hula Girl disappeared during the bombing.
There are many books about the Pearl Harbor attack, but virtually all of them are written from a military viewpoint, by men. Pearl Harbor Child is the only book that tells the story from a civilian point of view, written by a Hawaiian woman, through the eyes of a child.