“We Hereby Refuse” – Sharing the History of Japanese American Resistance, 80 Years Ago

We Hereby Refuse

Just over 80 years ago, on March 30, 1942, more than 200 Bainbridge Island residents were expelled from their homes and forcibly relocated and incarcerated in American concentration camps. They were among the first of the 120,000 Japanese Americans – according to a recent story in the Seattle Times – who were incarcerated during World War II solely on the basis of race.

In May 2021, a groundbreaking graphic novel was published that shared a lesser-known story of that mass injustice: resistance. Published by the Wing Luke Museum and Chin Music Press, “We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration,” authored by Frank Abe and Tamiko Nimura and illustrated by Ross Ishikawa and Matt Sasaki, wove together an epic narrative of three Japanese Americans who refused to submit to imprisonment in American concentration camps without a fight.

Want to learn about this remarkable graphic novel and the story behind it? Watch the YouTube recording of the Library event that celebrated its publication, hosted in partnership with the Wing Luke Museum, Densho and Elliott Bay Book Company.

Moderated by Tom Ikeda, Executive Director of Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project, this must-see event gathered panelists including “We Hereby Refuse” authors Frank Abe and Tamiko Nimura, and artist Ross Ishikawa, as well as Wing Luke Museum board member Diane Sugimura. Continue reading ““We Hereby Refuse” – Sharing the History of Japanese American Resistance, 80 Years Ago”

Gardening with Toddlers

We made a small garden space for my kiddo to play in to get him involved in the growing of things. It’s still mostly dirt play and mud making, which is a delight, but by planting that seed I hope his love for gardening grows as he gets older. Here are a few books in our collection that we’ve added to storytime at home to get him thinking and reading about the garden.

Dig In! by Cynthia L. Jenson-Elliott, illustrated by Mary Peterson
What kid doesn’t LOVE dirt?! This book is all about your child getting their hands dirty and what they will find as they play in the garden.

Green Green: a Community Gardening Story by Marie and Baldev Lamba, illustrated by Sonia Sanchez
Highlights the growth of community and reclaiming green spaces. Told through quick rhymes and colorful pictures. Continue reading “Gardening with Toddlers”

Peak Picks Turns 5 — and 25 Most Popular Books Since 2017

Peak PIcks
Selections Services’ Elena Gutierrez, who led the design of the Peak Picks collection in 2017, connects with a new Peak Pick

Blow out the candles! Peak Picks, The Seattle Public Library’s highly popular collection of books you can check out with no holds and no wait, turns 5 this month. Launched as a pilot project in May 2017, Peak Picks expanded to all 27 Library locations by the end of 2017. Since its start, more than 75,000 readers have checked out more than 700,000 copies of Peak Picks titles.

Funded by the 2019 Library Levy, Peak Picks is designed to make more copies of popular, high-interest adult fiction and nonfiction books immediately available to patrons. It was popular from the start. Continue reading “Peak Picks Turns 5 — and 25 Most Popular Books Since 2017”

New Nonfiction Roundup – April 2022

April marks the beginning of the busy spring publishing season, and this month’s crop of new books will not disappoint. Inspiring and approachable cookbooks, bold and nurturing self care titles, delightful pop culture histories and more will make your TBR pile taller than ever. And don’t forget to check out five spectacular additions to Peak Picks in April!

Notable and Noteworthy Authors.
Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, details the trials and tribulations of the Royal family since Princess Diana’s death in The Palace Papers. Saturday Night Live alum Molly Shannon reflects on her traumas and triumphs in the hilarious and heartbreaking Hello Molly! while self-proclaimed nerd Wil Wheaton revisits Hollywood, fandom and his famous blog posts in Still Just a Geek. Bestselling author and journalist Anna Quindlen guides readers to find themselves through the written word in Write For Your Life and the journals of Pulitzer Prize-winning Alice Walker shed light on her life and career as a Black woman in Gathering Blossoms Under Fire. Renowned primatologist Frans de Waal explores gender in humans and other animals in Different.

Continue reading “New Nonfiction Roundup – April 2022”

The Negro Motorist Green Book Exhibition: March 19 – June 12, 2022

The Negro Motorist Green Book exhibition opens this Saturday, March 19, at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma. This immersive, multimedia exhibit was curated by Candacy Taylor, former Harvard fellow and celebrated Green Book scholar, for the Smithsonian Institution’s Traveling Exhibition Service. The Green Book was published between 1936 and 1966 and became the bible of Black travel during the Jim Crow era, a time when racial segregation was legally enforced in the South, and discrimination was rife in the North and West as well.

This was also the age when the automobile became increasingly important in American life as a symbol of freedom and recreation. But for Black motorists, the experience of the open road was far less free than for whites. Travel for Black people was difficult, undignified, and dangerous. Black travelers were denied service at hotels and motels, at restaurants, at gas stations, and struggled to find places to simply use the restroom, or worse, faced intimidation and violence in “sundown towns.”

Close-up of the cover of the 1939 Green Book. Courtesy of the New York Public Library Digital Collections.

The Green Book was created by Victor Hugo Green, a Harlem postal worker and entrepreneur, to help Black travelers and vacationers find businesses that would welcome them. According to one memoirist, “You literally didn’t dare leave home without it.”

In many places where there were no hotels or restaurants serving Black customers, Black entrepreneurs, many of them women, ran tourist homes by renting out rooms in their private residences and serving homemade meals. The Green Book demonstrates the creative response the Black business community had to the problems of segregation, discrimination, and violence in travel, and provides important documentary evidence of Black businesses and neighborhoods. Continue reading “The Negro Motorist Green Book Exhibition: March 19 – June 12, 2022”