“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”

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”

Reading Ukraine: History, Memoir and Literature

Whenever conflicts erupt on the world stage, we can count on our patrons to head to their local library to find out more. When it comes to the current conflict in Ukraine, whether you prefer the objectivity of history and political analysis, the more subjective personal experiences of those involved, or the imaginative capacity of fiction to capture essential truths, you’ll find something of interest in our new list of books centered on Ukrainian history and life. Here are just a few of the diverse titles you’ll find there:

The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine, by Serhii Plokhy. Spanning from the Neanderthals to the Ukrainian Revolution and Russian backlash of 2014, Harvard professor Plokhy presents a nuanced, authoritative history of an embattled region whose conquerors have included Huns, Vikings, Mongols, Swedes, Hapsburgs, Ottoman Turks, Poles, Germans, and Russians, and of the gradual, halting emergence of Ukrainian national identity and solidarity. Continue reading “Reading Ukraine: History, Memoir and Literature”

New Nonfiction Roundup – March 2022

This month in nonfiction features a bevy of fantastic cookbooks, page-turners that read like fiction, thoughtful (and funny) memoirs and a host of books to help us get through the day a bit more successfully. And don’t forget to check out this month’s Peak Picks in nonfiction.

What’s Cooking?
Chef (and recent transplant to Seattle) J. Kenji Lopez-Alt (Food Lab) returns with his second cookbook, The Wok. Dietician Nisha Melvani shares more than 100 plant-based recipes in Practically Vegan, and Steven Gundry (The Plant Paradox) shows readers how to eat more beneficial foods in Unlocking the Keto Code.

Memoirs, Celebrity and Otherwise.
In Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama, Bob Odenkirk charts his “inexplicable” career from seedy comedy clubs to starring roles in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul while director Sarah Polley tackles the vagaries of memory in Run Towards the Danger. Two books look back at coming of age in the 90s: “Everything Iconic” podcaster Danny Pellegrino revisits his youth as a Midwestern gay kid in How Do I Un-Remember This? while Liz Scheier reflects on her childhood with a mentally ill single parent in Never Simple. Beloved author Amy Bloom shares her struggles as her husband is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in In Love while New York Times columnist Frank Bruni considers hope amidst loss as he partially loses his eyesight in The Beauty of Dusk. Tony Award-winner and gay icon Harvey Fierstein reveals all in his hilarious memoir I Was Better Last Night, while revolutionary queer comic Hannah Gadsby looks at her childhood in Australia and its impact on her comedy in Ten Steps to Nanette. And Marie Yovanovitch, ambassador to Ukraine until she was famously fired by Donald Trump, provides valuable insight into her life and work in Lessons From the Edge.

Continue reading “New Nonfiction Roundup – March 2022”