George Takei’s Graphic Novel ‘They Called Us Enemy’ is Book, Batavia Selection

The Batavia Public Library has chosen the graphic novel “They Called Us Enemy” by George Takei as this year’s selection for One Book, One Batavia.

This annual community-wide reading event is dedicated to creating a shared conversation through related events and activities for residents. It is presented by the Batavia Public Library in cooperation with Batavia High School and co-sponsored by the Friends of the Batavia Public Library.

George Takei

In Takei’s thoughtful and sobering memoir, “They Called Us Enemies,” he shares a first-hand account of his family’s internment at a relocation center for Japanese Americans during World War II. world.

Takei writes with emotion about the innocence of his childhood, the courage of his parents, and the fear and shame they experienced. George Takei, co-writers Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott, and artist Harmony Becker, tell his family’s story in graphic memoir form.

Customers and high school students can borrow the book from the Batavia Public Library.

It is available in the following formats: graphic novel, e-book (Libby/Overdrive) and Kindle.

With an acting career spanning six decades, Takei is known worldwide for his role as Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek. He is a strong advocate for social justice and human rights. He served as President of Cultural Affairs for the Japanese American Citizens League and is President Emeritus and Trustee of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

Co-Writers Justin Eisinger is the Editorial Director, Graphic Novels & Collections for IDW Publishing and Steven Scott has worked regularly in comics, including as a publicist.

The library will host six different One Book, One Batavia events in February and March, including a talk with the book’s illustrator; a resident of Batavia discussing her family’s experience in an internment camp; an event for teens creating graphic novels; the basics of Zen meditation; and a session where clients can learn strategies for challenging old and new stereotypes.

• During the first event on Tuesday, February 8, adults and teens can join a guided discussion about the book at 7:30 p.m. Participants are encouraged to read the book before the discussion. Register at bataviapubliclibrary.org/one-book-one-batavia-2022/. There is a limit of 15 people.


Batavia resident Ellen Huxtable

Batavia resident Ellen Huxtable

• On Thursday, February 17, Batavia resident Ellen Huxtable recounts her family’s experience at the Manzanar War Relocation Center, an internment camp, during “Japanese-American Internment: A Manzanar Family Story” at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Registration is mandatory.

• On Wednesday, February 23, the One Book, One Batavia series continues with “Model Minority, Perpetual Foreigner, Yellow Peril: Challenging Old and New Asian American Stereotypes” at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Registration is mandatory. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a resurgence of anti-Asian sentiment and violence in the United States. However, racist stereotypes about Asian Americans are nothing new and have strategically served the interests of those in power long before this time. In this talk, Jenny Lee, Professor of English, Humanities, and Asian American Studies at the College of Lake County, will discuss the roots of anti-Asian violence in America and how anti-Asian stereotypes emerged. and evolved over time. . Participants will leave with strategies to recognize and challenge these stereotypes in their communities

• On Tuesday March 1, learn the basics of Zen and why meditation is at the heart of its practice during “The ABC of Zazen – Zen Meditation” at 7:00 p.m. Sensei June Ryushin Tanoue is a fully empowered Zen priest and teacher and has practiced meditation since 1992. She is co-founder of the Zen Life & Meditation Center, Chicago. She is from Hawaii and had parents who were incarcerated at Heart Mountain during World War II. Registration is mandatory. There is a limit of 15 people.


Illustrator Harmony Becker

Illustrator Harmony Becker

• Have you ever wondered how a graphic novel is made? Participate in a talk with Harmony Becker, the illustrator of George Takei’s “They Called Us Enemy,” and learn how she worked with the famous author to pen her heartbreaking memoir at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15. Registration is required for this Zoom Program. Becker is the creator of the “Himawari Share”, “Love Potion”, and “Anemone and Catharus” comics.

• Teens are invited to join “Create Your Own Graphic Memoirs Page” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23. Teens, learn what graphic designers do to create their graphic novels. Illustrate your life story with this workshop on how to create a graphic memory page. Registration is mandatory. There is a limit of 15 people.

Find full event and registration information on the library’s website at www.bataviapubliclibrary.org.

Irene B. Bowles