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

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

August 3, 2022 at 06:31AM Myra Garces-Bacsal