The Nisei Week Book Fair will take place during the first weekend of Nisei Week, Aug. 15 and 16, in the James Irvine Japanese Garden of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, 244 S. San Pedro St. in Little Tokyo.
In a tribute to the late Yoshiko Uchida, Traise Yamamoto will discuss Uchida’s “Desert Exile,” and Leonard Chan, “Uncle Kanda’s Black Cat,” from 11:30 to 11:50 a.m. on Saturday. Yamamoto is an associate professor of English at UC Riverside and is the author of “Masking Selves, Making Subjects: Japanese American Women, Identity, and the Body.” She has also written the introduction for the new edition of “Desert Exile.” Chan is a computer and nonprofit organization consultant and the illustrator for “Uncle Kanda’s Black Cat.”
From 12 to 12:35 p.m., Kathryn Otoshi will present her latest book, “Two.” She is an award-winning author/illustrator and national and international speaker, best known for her character-building number/color book series: “Zero” (about finding value in oneself and others), “One” (an anti-bullying book introducing concepts of acceptance, understanding and standing up to make a difference), and “Two”(about friendship and conflict resolution).
Margaret Dilloway, Debbie Yamada, and Takino Morimoto share the 12:45-1:50 p.m. time slot with their historical fiction novels.
Dilloway recently signed a two-book deal with Disney-Hyperion for a middle-grade fantasy series due to be published in June 2016. Her novel “Sisters of Heart and Snow” skillfully incorporates real-life contemporary themes like the immigrant experience and its clash of cultures, as well as difficult issues surrounding aging parents, rebellious teens, career roadblocks and more.
Yamada is a retired elementary art teacher and a second-generation Chinese American married to a Sansei. Her two children inspired her book “Echoes from Gold Mountain,” which is about two modern-day children who discover some letters that become voices echoing from the past that reveal the hopes and struggles of the early Chinese pioneers.
Morimoto, born and raised in Japan, is a graduate of Tokyo University of Education with a B.A. degree in philosophy, specializing in Japanese thought in the Edo period. She earned a doctorate in education from UCLA and has researched extant sources on poet Matsuo Basho for the past 10 years and visited the scenes of his lifetime experiences.
Edgar-winning mystery writer Naomi Hirahara is on from 2 to 2:20 p.m. with her latest novel, “Grave on Grand Avenue,” the second of her Ellie Rush bicycle cop mysteries, which was released in April. She takes her readers through the back alleys, freeways and communities of Japanese America through both her fiction and nonfiction.
From 2:30 to 3:20 p.m., Todd and Linda Shimoda, author and book designer at Chin Music Press, and former L.A. County district attorney Gil Garcetti, with his pictorial “Japan: A Reverence for Beauty,” share their experiences and reflections.
The Shimodas will talk about author, artist, and book designer collaboration in creating visually rich books. Todd has published five novels described as “philosophical mysteries with page-turning plots.” In 2010, he received the Elliot Cades Award for Literature from the Hawaii Literary Arts Council. His books have been translated into six languages. Linda is an accomplished artist, illustrator and book designer whose artwork and illustrations have appeared in numerous books and venues.
Garcetti’s photographs have resulted in the publishing of seven books. His most recent photo book and project raises the question of why the Japanese people are so unique in their reverence and need for beauty and what we might learn from this ancient culture that will enhance us as a people or nation.
Marsha Aizumi and her transgender son, Aiden Aizumi, share their personal journey with “Two Spirits, One Heart” from 3:30 to 3:50 p.m. They have spoken around the country to over 100 organizations about their journey from fear, shame, and sadness to unconditional love and acceptance. It is their hope that their work, both written and spoken, will bring more resources, awareness and encouragement to LGBTQ individuals and their families.
Winding up the day, from 4 to 4:45 p.m., are cartoonists/memoirists MariNaomi and Yumi Sakugawa.
MariNaomi is the author and illustrator of the Eisner-nominated “Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories.” This and other works have appeared in over 60 print anthologies and various websites. Her artwork has been featured in such venues as the De Young Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum and the Japanese American National Museum.
Sakugawa is an Ignatz Award-nominated comic book artist and the author of “I Think I Am in Friend-Love with You” and “Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe.” Her comics have appeared in various publications, such as The Rumpus, Folio, and Fjords Review.
Poet and performing artist traci kato-kiriyama will emcee the Saturday program.
Book-signings after each presentation will take place on the JACCC plaza at vendor booths: Asian American Curriculum Project, Chin Music Press, Heritage Source, Steven G. Doi Books, and Yabitoon Books.