ISBN: 9781639932085

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Wat Kept Playing: The Inspiring Story of Wataru Misaka and His Rise to the NBA

by: Emily Inouye Huey, Kaye Kang,

This picture book biography about Asian American basketball hero Wataru Misaka will inspire young readers to challenge barriers and dream big. 

As the child of Japanese immigrants, Wataru “Wat” Misaka often felt like he didn’t fully belong in either Japanese or American culture. He was sometimes excluded, treated differently, and bullied, even though he was born in the United States. As he grew up, however, Wat discovered he had a very special talent for playing basketball. Even at just five foot seven, he was unstoppable.

After leading his high school team to a state championship, Wat played for the Utah Utes and helped the team win the 1944 NCAA championship. Wat kept playing even as Japanese Americans from the West Coast were sent to incarceration camps for the duration of World War II. Then, after two years serving in the United States Army, Wat returned to basketball, leading the University of Utah to Madison Square Garden and winning another national championship. The cheering crowd recognized Wat the way he wanted to be seen—as a person who was both Japanese and American and an amazing basketball player. Talent scouts from the New York Knicks were so impressed, they drafted Wat to their team. Wat’s undeniable talent changed history as he became the first person of color to play in the NBA.


Meet the Author
Emily Inouye Huey is an author of historical books for children and teens. Her first novel, Beneath the Wide Silk Sky, has received several awards, including the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ Golden Kite Award and the Whitney Award for Youth Novel of the Year. Emily holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University and lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. You can visit her at or on Instagram at @emily_inouye_huey.
Books of Emily Inouye Huey
Meet the Author
Kaye Kang is a Korean-born artist who likes to sketch outside and play with her cat, Gigi. She specializes in character design and visual development for the animation industry. Ever since she was a little kid, she has always been fascinated by fine art and how nature can be portrayed in the eyes of others. She enjoys observing and drawing everything from her life and sharing it with people. She lives in San Francisco, California.
Books of Kaye Kang
About This Book