Missing in Action by Dean Hughes

book report by Emily Goertzen


Jay and his mother move to Utah to live with his grandparents, after they find out that Jay's dad has been declared Missing in Action during World War 2. Jay has to get over the fact that his dad, who was abusive to him and his mother, is dead and he isn't coming back. Jay is part Navajo and he is often made fun of. He finds a group of boys in the neighborhood who play baseball, and decides to join. The boys give him a hard time at first but they eventually learn to accept him for who he is. Jay's grandpa asks Jay to work on his farm and help Ken, who is a Japanese that lives at the Topaz camp, with the daily chores. Jay has to overcome the thought that not all Japanese people want to kill the Americans. After becoming more and more comfortable with Ken each day, they became friends.


I think the theme of this book is not to make fun of somebody because of their race. Jay was made fun of for being part Indian and a lot of people would call him dirty, lazy and good for nothing. Ken was also made fun of and people were scared that he would kill them because he was Japanese and there is a war going on between the Americans and the Japanese.
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What did you enjoy about this book?

I enjoyed how the author wrote the book. He made me interested throughout the whole book and I like how he described events that happened in the book.

Which characters play important roles that relate to the overall theme?

Jay and Ken played the most important roles that relate to the overall theme because they both were made fun of for being different. Jay had to stop thinking that "all Japs want to kill Americans" and know that Ken was going through the same thing he was going through, with being made fun of because they were a different color.

Was the ending satisfactory? Why or why not?

Yes the ending was satisfactory because everybody ends up happy. Jay ends up with two good best friends, Ken and Gordy. Ken goes into the war and promises Jay that he will come home a war hero. His mom was doing better, and Hal was starting to become apart of the family. And Jay now feels like a regular guy.

What interesting or notable facts do you know about the author?

Most of Dean Hughes books are mainly sports-themed and the World War 2 era. When he was in high school he did the best in track. He did short distance, hurdles, and long jump. He did other sports but he wasn't that good at them. He had trouble finding somebody to publish his books, and many of his first books were rejected. Dean Hughes was written 90 books, he is a college professor on the side and wants to be known as an Author for his full time job.