George Takei's graphic novel 'They Called Us Enemy' is One Book, One 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 sobering and thoughtful memoir, "They Called Us Enemy," he shares a firsthand account of his family's internment in a relocation center for Japanese Americans during World War II.

Takei movingly writes of his childhood innocence, his parents' courage, and the fear and shame they experienced. George Takei, co-writers Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott, and artist Harmony Becker, convey his family's story in graphic memoir format.

Patrons and high school students can borrow the book through the Batavia Public Library.

It is available in these formats: a graphic novel, eBook (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 passionate advocate for social justice and human right issues. He was cultural affairs chairman of the Japanese American Citizens League and is chairman emeritus and a trustee of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

Co-authors Justin Eisinger is the editorial director, Graphic Novels & Collections for IDW Publishing and Steven Scott has worked regularly in comics, most notably as a publicist.

The library will have six different One Book, One Batavia events during February and March, including a talk with the book's illustrator; a Batavia resident discussing her family's experience in an internment camp; a teen event creating graphic novels; the basics of Zen meditation; and a session where patrons can learn strategies to challenge old and new stereotypes.

• During the first event on Tuesday, Feb. 8, adults and teens can join a guided discussion of the book at 7:30 p.m. Participants are asked to read the book prior to the discussion. Register at There is a 15-person limit.

Batavia resident Ellen Huxtable

• On Thursday, Feb. 17, Batavia resident Ellen Huxtable tells her family's experience in the Manzanar War Relocation Center, an internment camp, during "The Japanese-American Internment: A Manzanar Family History" at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Registration is required.

• On Wednesday, Feb. 23, the One Book, One Batavia series continues with "Model Minority, Perpetual Foreigner, Yellow Peril: Challenging Old and New Stereotypes about Asian Americans" at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Registration is required. 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 moment. 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 the ways in which anti-Asian stereotypes have emerged and evolved over time. Attendees will come away with strategies to recognize and challenge these stereotypes in their communities

• On Tuesday, March 1, learn the basics of Zen and why meditation is central to its practice during "The ABC's of Zazen - Zen Meditation" at 7 p.m. Sensei June Ryushin Tanoue is a fully empowered Zen priest and teacher and has been practicing meditation since 1992. She is a co-founder of the Zen Life & Meditation Center, Chicago. She is originally from Hawaii and had relatives who were incarcerated at Heart Mountain during World War II. Registration is required. There is a 15-person limit.

Illustrator Harmony Becker

• Ever wonder how a graphic novel is designed? Join a talk with Harmony Becker, the illustrator of "They Called Us Enemy by George Takei," and learn how she worked with the famous author to put together his heart-wrenching memoir at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 15. Registration is required for this Zoom program. Becker is the creator of the comics "Himawari Share," "Love Potion," and "Anemone and Catharus."

• Teens are invited to join "Make Your Own Graphic Memoir Page" at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 23. Teens, learn what graphic artists do to create their graphic novels. Illustrate your life story with this workshop on how to make a graphic memoir page. Registration is required. There is a 15-person limit.

Find complete event information and registration on the library's website at

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.