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Naomi Hirahara and Susan H. Kamei in Conversation

CLARK AND DIVISION and WHEN CAN WE GO BACK TO AMERICA? book cover art Thursday August 26 event details for Naomi Hirahara and Susan amei


Spend an evening with authors Naomi Hirahara (Clark and Division) and Susan H. Kamei (When Can We Go Back to America? Voices of Japanese American Incarceration during WWII) taking a fictional and non-fiction look at the lives of Japanese Americans during and immediately after World War II, with a focus on their experiences in incarcreation camps, and the lives they forged after they were released.
Clark and Division is a mystery set in 1944 Chicago; Publishers Weekly notes, "Elegant prose matches the meticulous research. This well-crafted tale of injustice isn’t just for mystery fans."  
When Can We Go Back to America? is published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers imprint, but is also adult accessible. When Can We Go Back to America? releases on Tuesday, September 7, but can be preordered below.

Clark and Division is a moving, eye-opening depiction of life after Manzanar. Naomi Hirahara has infused her mystery with a deep humanity, unearthing a piece of buried American history.”
—George Takei

“I can’t stress how moving this book is and what a huge impact it will have. The history of the relationship between the US and Japan is fascinating, but what makes this book truly special are the first-hand, diary-like accounts from the young people who spent months imprisoned by their own country—people who loved and respected this country and who instead of being treated as citizens, were treated as enemies. It’s impossible to read these accounts and not be moved. There are very few books, especially in the YA genre, on this sobering chapter of US history, and exploring this history is unfortunately particularly relevant right now.”

—Krista V., Senior Editor, on When Can We Go Back to America?

Register for this event; After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing participation information.

Naomi will drop by our Redondo Beach location to sign copies of Clark & Division on Friday, August 27.  Please add any inscription notations for Naomi to the Comments Section at stage 2 of checkout, after adding books to your ecommerce cart.

Naomi Hirahara is the Edgar Award-winning author of the Mas Arai mystery series, including Summer of the Big Bachi, which was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and one of Chicago Tribune's Ten Best Mysteries and Thrillers; Gasa Gasa Girl; Snakeskin Shamisen; and Hiroshima Boy. She is also the author of the LA-based Ellie Rush mysteries. A former editor of The Rafu Shimpo newspaper, she has co-written non-fiction books like Life after Manzanar and the award-winning Terminal Island: Lost Communities of Los Angeles Harbor. The Stanford University alumna was born and raised in Altadena, CA; she now resides in the adjacent town of Pasadena, CA.

Susan H. Kamei is the granddaughter of Japanese immigrants. Her maternal grandparents were part of the Japanese classical music community in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, and her paternal grandparents were vegetable farmers in Orange County. During World War II, her mother and her parents were incarcerated at the Santa Anita Assembly Center in Arcadia, California and at the War Relocation Authority camp in Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Her father, together with his grandparents, parents, and siblings, were detained at the WRA camp known as Poston II in Arizona. Susan received her JD from the Georgetown University Law Center. She teaches at the University of Southern California on the legal ramifications of the incarceration of persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II and how they apply to constitutional issues, civil liberties, and national security considerations today.

Event Date: 
Thursday, August 26, 2021 - 6:00pm
CA 90278
Clark and Division Cover Image
ISBN: 9781641292498
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Soho Crime - August 3rd, 2021

Set in 1944 Chicago, Edgar Award-winner Naomi Hirahara's eye-opening and poignant new mystery, the story of a young woman searching for the truth about her revered older sister's death, brings to focus the struggles of one Japanese American family released from mass incarceration at Manzanar during World War II.


Chicago, 1944: Twenty-year-old Aki Ito and her parents have just been released from Manzanar, where they have been detained by the US government since the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, together with thousands of other Japanese Americans. The life in California the Itos were forced to leave behind is gone; instead, they are being resettled two thousand miles away in Chicago, where Aki's older sister, Rose, was sent months earlier and moved to the new Japanese American neighborhood near Clark and Division streets. But on the eve of the Ito family's reunion, Rose is killed by a subway train.


Aki, who worshipped her sister, is stunned. Officials are ruling Rose's death a suicide. Aki cannot believe her perfect, polished, and optimistic sister would end her life. Her instinct tells her there is much more to the story, and she knows she is the only person who could ever learn the truth.


Inspired by historical events, Clark and Division infuses an atmospheric and heartbreakingly real crime fiction plot with rich period details and delicately wrought personal stories Naomi Hirahara has gleaned from thirty years of research and archival work in Japanese American history.

When Can We Go Back to America?: Voices of Japanese American Incarceration during WWII Cover Image
By Susan H. Kamei, Norman Y. Mineta (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781481401449
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - September 7th, 2021

(Available September 7)

In the vein of They Called Us Enemy comes a powerful new book that recounts the experience of Japanese American incarceration during World War II from the perspective of the young people affected.

It’s difficult to believe it happened here, in the Land of the Free: After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States government forcibly removed more than 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry from the Pacific Coast and imprisoned them in desolate detention camps until the end of World War II just because of their race.

In what Secretary Norman Y. Mineta describes as a “landmark book,” he and others who lived through this harrowing experience tell the story of their incarceration and the long-term impact of this dark period in American history. For the first time, why and how these tragic events took place are interwoven with more than 130 individual voices of those who were unconstitutionally incarcerated, many of them children and young adults.

Now more than ever, their words will resonate with readers who are confronting questions about racial identity, immigration, and citizenship, and what it means to be an American.

Life After Manzanar Cover Image
ISBN: 9781597144001
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Heyday Books - April 3rd, 2018

From the editor of the award-winning Children of Manzanar, Heather C. Lindquist, and Edgar Award winner Naomi Hirahara comes a nuanced account of the "Resettlement" the relatively unexamined period when ordinary people of Japanese ancestry, having been unjustly imprisoned during World War II, were finally released from custody. Given twenty-five dollars and a one-way bus ticket to make a new life, some ventured east to Denver and Chicago to start over, while others returned to Southern California only to face discrimination and an alarming scarcity of housing and jobs. Hirahara and Lindquist weave new and archival oral histories into an engaging narrative that illuminates the lives of former internees in the postwar era, both in struggle and unlikely triumph. Readers will appreciate the painstaking efforts that rebuilding required, and will feel inspired by the activism that led to redress and restitution-and that built a community that even now speaks out against other racist agendas.