Before schools were built, or any organized activities created for kids, Girl Scout troops were formed. 

Koko’s friend, Mitzi, encouraged her to join with her.

“But Mama would have a coughing fit
just mentioning Girl Scouts.”

Koko isn’t very good at following rules, even her mother’s,
and it gets her into terrible trouble.

Koko bucking rules in the story fits the role children played at Heart Mountain as the first resisters. During the first winter there, before the barbed wire fence went up, thirty-two grade-schoolers were  arrested for snow sledding. Their make-shift sleds were confiscated, and the children escorted back to their parents with a warning. 

Stop! Or I'll shoot!

Koko promises to change.


Her sister, Shirley, doesn’t believe Koko can.
“That would be a miracle.” 

Her mother is worried.

“Our days of daydreaming are over, Koko. They ended the day they forced us from our homes.”

She hasn’t seen her father since the evacuation.

In his last letter from Camp Sante Fe he wrote, “My work here should be finished soon.”

“But when? When?”

Every day, Mr. Oyama, the Postman, says, “No, Koko. No letter from your father.”

“But little drops of gaman still stuck inside me, won’t let me give up.”

Find out how Koko follows rules in a place where no one is free.


There were ten main internment camps built in the United States during World War II. 

California, Arizona, and Arkansas each built two camps.  Idaho, Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming each built one. 

Our story takes place in Heart Mountain, Wyoming located between Cody and Powell City.

The War Relocation Authority (WRA) managed Heart Mountain from August 1942 to November 1945. 

Each block held 24 barracks buildings, two mess halls, two buildings for latrines and laundry,  and two recreation buildings.

School opened October 5, 1942 with few books and little furniture. A chalk board was a piece of plywood painted black. 

This is the back of Heart Mountain in approaching the town of Cody, founded in 1896 by Colonel William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. He  was impressed by the grand scenery, hunting, and proximity to Yellowstone National Park.

In 1944, with coordinated efforts of several government agencies, over two hundred Boy Scouts and Camp Fire Girls were allowed to leave camp to visit  Yellowstone.

A single barracks was 120 feet long and 20 feet wide. There were 24 barracks for each block and 30 blocks. When the evacuees first arrived, many of the barracks were unfinished leaving them to stay warm by walking the streets. With over 10,000 people relocated at Heart Mountain, it became the third largest city in Wyoming during the war.

There were nine guard towers with soldiers, each armed with  rifles. The Army was responsible for guarding the outside perimeter of camp. The WRA (War Relocation Authority) responsible for the inside. Policemen, firemen, social workers were employed, along with teachers, doctors, nurses, cooks, and even a librarian. 

Each barracks was divided into six  units. The 20×24 foot units were for large families of up to six people. The 20×20 units held four or more people, and the 20×16 units four or less. The evacuees made due with one single light bulb dangling from the rafters and one coal burning stove. From the beginning, units were overcrowded.

You are now leaving Koko’s World during 1943,
an internment camp in Wyoming for people of Japanese descent.


We hope you’ll read more about this history of when Americans were incarcerated for looking like the enemy. 

May it never happen again.

Here’s your one-way train ticket back home.

Thank you for visiting.