Book Club Sessions
Week 1: Strawberry Days w/ Author David Neiwert
Strawberry Days tells the vivid and moving tale of the creation and destruction of a Japanese immigrant community. Before World War II, Bellevue, the now-booming "edge city" on the outskirts of Seattle, was a prosperous farm town renowned for its strawberries. Many of its farmers were recent Japanese immigrants who, despite being rejected by white society, were able to make a living cultivating the rich soil. Yet the lives they created for themselves through years of hard work vanished almost instantly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. David Neiwert combines compelling story-telling with first-hand interviews and newly uncovered documents to weave together the history of this community and the racist schemes that prevented the immigrants from reclaiming their land after the war. Ultimately, Strawberry Days represents more than one community's story, reminding us that bigotry's roots are deeply entwined in the very fiber of American society.
Week 2: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet w/ Author Jamie Ford
Please enjoy our book club with author Jamie Ford, as we discussed his novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Jamie answered questions about the book, about writing, and his personal life. With so much turmoil in our culture at the moment, this has also been an opportunity to reexamine the racial discord that led to the Japanese American incarceration decades before WWII and how lessons learned might be applied to current events.
Week 3: Baseball Saved Us w/
Author Ken Mochizuki
From Seattle, Washington, Ken Mochizuki is the author of the award-winning and bestselling children's picture books Baseball Saved Us, Heroes and Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story. He is also the author of the picture book, Be Water My Friend: The Early Years of Bruce Lee and the young adult novel, Beacon Hill Boys. As a journalist and historian, he is the author of, and contributor to, several adult nonfiction histories, including Meet Me At Higo: An Enduring Story of a Japanese American Family and Minidoka Memoirs: The Untold Story from the Yoshito Fujii Files. He is also the writer of the Living Voices performance piece "Within the Silence," and a musical version of Baseball Saved Us staged by Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre.
Week 6: My Name is Viola w/
Author Lawrence Matsuda
My Name is Not Viola, explores one person’s attempt to live a dignified life in spite of historic and institutional racism and hate.