Annelore Parrot's Kokeshi

Rafu Staff Writer

This weekend, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books will bring together booksellers, authors, celebrities, and bibliophiles for two days of book signings, performances, and panels—not to mention ample opportunity for book browsing and buying. In its second year at its new USC location, the Festival boasts a stage for children’s entertainment and appearances by cultural icons such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julie Andrews, and Judy Bloom.

It would be impossible to experience all that the Festival has to offer in the span of two days,  without a time-turning necklace a la Hermione Granger. For those of us without the power of time travel, here are a few starting points to consider.


Chronicle Books
Known best for its whimsical aesthetic, Chronicle recently published a series of children’s books with kokeshi dolls for characters. Kids and adults will love Aoki and Yumi, as well as their stylized but remarkably accurate Japan, brought to life by French artist Annelore Parrot.

A nonprofit publishing company focusing on the many cultures, landscapes, and ideas of California, Heyday is responsible for books such as “Only What We Could Carry: The Japanese American Internment Experience” and “Unfinished Message,” a posthumous collection of short stories by Toshio Mori, a Nisei writer whose images of California are reminiscent of Steinbeck’s… but with more Japanese American faces.

Kinokuniya Books
The bookstore of Little Tokyo, Kinokuniya will bring a slice of its shop outdoors this weekend, including selections from its popular stationery department. Expect a well curated collection of books in both Japanese and English, along with all the cute pencils one could ever need.

Authors at the Kinokuniya booth will include Sunny Seki (“Yuko-Chan and the Daruma Doll”), Julie Otsuka (“The Buddha in the Attic”), Dale Furutani (“The Curious Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in Japan”), and Nina Revoyr (“Southland”). For Kinokuniya’s full schedule, click here.

Kaya Press
A small publishing house located on the USC campus, Kaya focuses on stories from the Asian diaspora. Its most recent publication is “Lament in the Night,” a pair of novellas originally published in Japanese in 1925 (and serialized in The Rafu Shimpo) by Shoson Nagahara.

This year, Kaya will collaborate with other indie publishers to present its Smokin’ Hot Literary Lit Lounge, a place where visitors can relax, listen to readings, and “publish” books of their own. To learn what that means, visit Kaya’s website.

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