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One Book, One San Diego Announces 2020 Titles

Focus on Japanese American experiences in WWII internment camps

One Book, One San Diego has announced the selections for the 2020 region-wide read: “They Called Us Enemy” by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott and Harmony Becker for adult readers, readers of Spanish and young adult readers, and “Write to Me” by Cynthia Grady and illustrated by Amiko Hirao for children.

Each year, One Book, One San Diego features one book for adults, one for young adults, one for kids and one for Spanish language readers. This year, the program received more than 400 nominations. “They Called Us Enemy” was the selection for three categories.

“They Called Us Enemy” (“Nos Llamaron Enemigo”) is a stunning graphic memoir, in which actor/author/activist George Takei revisits his haunting childhood in American concentration camps, as one of 120,000 Japanese Americans imprisoned by the U.S. government during World War II. With unforgettable words and images, the book asks the questions: “What does it mean to be American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do?”

“I tell the story of the choices my parents made to get us through that awful time with hope, love, compassion, and with a deep understanding of what it means to be an American. I look forward to sharing my family’s story with you,” says Takei.

On September 22, One Book, One San Diego will host a free virtual event featuring an interview with Takei. Event details and registration are available at www.kpbs.org/onebook. In addition to the September virtual presentation, George Takei and his co-creators will speak later in the fall to San Diego students about the lessons of his story for the next generation.

“Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind” is a touching story about Japanese American children who corresponded with their beloved librarian, Clara Breed, while they were imprisoned in World War II internment camps. Miss Breed was a children’s and city librarian with the San Diego Public Library from 1929-1970. When her young Japanese American patrons were forced into concentration camps with their families in 1942, Breed became their reliable correspondent. Her collection of letters from the children are held at the Japanese American National Museum, and author Cynthia Grady uses excerpts from the letters to present a difficult subject with honesty and hope.

“Thank you for reading and honoring ‘Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind” and more importantly for recognizing the life of Clara Breed, a woman who made sure a small group of American children and teens did not feel forgotten while they were imprisoned during WWII,” says Grady.

Free discussions, film screenings, lectures and workshops around the 2020 selections will be hosted by public libraries and other partner locations throughout the fall. Find details at www.kpbs.org/onebook.

About One Book, One San Diego:

Launched in 2007, the program encourages everyone in the San Diego and the Northern Baja region to read and discuss the same book. One Book is selected for four categories of readers: adults, teens, kids and Spanish speakers. It is a partnership, led by KPBS, with the San Diego Public Library, the San Diego County Library, San Diego State University and more than 25 others. The program is funded by the Linden Root Dickinson Foundation, the City of San Diego, the Dr. Seuss Fund at the San Diego Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Lloyd Pest Control, the Seth Sprague Educational and Charitable Foundation, and the Payne Family Foundation.

KPBS Media Contacts

Heather Milne Barger, (619) 594-4985

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