#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Books Early Readers Features Genre Lifespan of a Reader Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] An Improbable Love In The Most Unlikely Of Places

"Love In The Library" by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Yas Imamura

Myra here.

We are delighted to dedicate our Wednesdays to featuring nonfiction titles, as per usual. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading theme throughout the year, when we can.

This year, we hope to feature books that fit any of the following criteria:

  1. Postcolonial literature and/or [pre/post] revolutionary stories
  2. Stories by indigenous / first-nation peoples / people of colour
  3. Narratives of survival and healing, exile and migration, displacement and dispossession
  4. Books written or illustrated by people who have been colonized, oppressed, marginalized

Love In The Library (Amazon | Book Depository)

Written by Maggie Tokuda-Hall Illustrated by Yas Imamura
Published by: Candlewick Press (2022) ISBN: 1536204307 (ISBN13: 9781536204308) Borrowed via Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

I have seen this book shared by fellow book-bloggers so I was thrilled to find it via Overdrive. A valuable addition to the ever-growing list of picturebooks on the unjust internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II (see here and here), Tokuda-Hall and Imamura introduce the readers to Tama, a young woman who loves books, and thus became the default librarian in the Minidoka camp.

I love the image above, showing George waiting for Tama to unlock the library. George is a constant patron, borrowing stacks of books every single day.

I can tell that the author was being very cautious to not romantize such a harrowing period in history, while at the same time, skilfully depicting how an improbable love can still manage to grow even in the most unlikely of places. There remains the undeniable excitement of love in its incipient stages, while not denying the hypervigilance brought about by dispossession and unjust incarceration by virtue of one’s ethnicity.

Then there is the magic of make-believe that can be found in the pages of a book, the solace brought about by burying one’s sensibility, even for just a moment, in a story far, far away from the life one is living at the moment. There is freedom to be found in the pages of a book.

What struck me the most, however, was the very powerful Author’s Note at the end of the book. Maggie Tokuda-Hall did not mince words and spoke of solidarities and brutalities experienced by people of color even at the present time. While there is a stark unstripping of the hatred that remains true until now, there is also hope, beauty, redemption – the entire gamut of what it means to be human, all because love can, and will always, be found in the library.

#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Update: 76 out of target 100

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

0 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] An Improbable Love In The Most Unlikely Of Places

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: