They Called Us Enemy, the New York Times-bestselling graphic memoir of George Takei, was announced today as the winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature by the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), an affiliate of the American Library Association.
APALA’s literary awards were announced at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting, marking a milestone new achievement for the acclaimed bestseller by Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and Harmony Becker. In They Called Us Enemy, the iconic actor/author/activist revisits his haunting childhood in American concentration camps, as one of 120,000 Japanese Americans imprisoned by the U.S. government during World War II, while reflecting on how that experience shaped America and his own astonishing life.
Published in July 2019 by Top Shelf Productions (an imprint of IDW Publishing), They Called Us Enemy immediately debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list and stayed on the list for more than 10 weeks. It has been declared one of the year’s best books by such institutions as Amazon, NPR, New York Public Library, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, IGN, and Forbes.
A Spanish translation of They Called Us Enemy, entitled Nos llamaron Enemigo, will be published in June 2020. Readers can also take a deeper dive into They Called Us Enemy when a deluxe hardcover edition, packed with unseen bonus material, hits stores in July.
“They Called Us Enemy is truly beautiful — moving, thoughtful, important, engaging, and stunningly rendered. I am so excited to see this book’s impact on the world.” — Jacqueline Woodson, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and National Book Award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming
“George Takei’s story reveals the important lessons of the WWII Japanese American Incarceration that still need to be learned today. They Called Us Enemy is a compelling must-read for all ages.” — Karen Korematsu, Founder and Executive Director, Fred T. Korematsu Institute
“This amazing graphic novel captures virtually the entirety of Japanese American incarceration experience during World War II with humor, drama, vivid drawings and a remarkable balance of childlike wonder, honesty and adult outrage which is quintessential George Takei. It is powerful, touching and captivating. A must read for every American and should be in every school’s library.” —Dale Minami, lead attorney in overturning the Korematsu case
“Moving and layered… Takei challenges Americans to look to how past humanitarian injustices speak to current political debates. Giving a personal view into difficult history, [They Called Us Enemy] is a testament to hope and tenacity in the face of adversity.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A compelling blend of nostalgia and outrage… this approachable, well-wrought graphic memoir is important reading, particularly in today’s political climate. Pair with John Lewis’ acclaimed March series for a thought-provoking, critical look at the history of racism in American policies and culture.” — Booklist (starred review)
“This evocative memoir shares stories of the nation’s past, draws heartbreaking parallels to the present, and serves as a cautionary tale for the future. For all readers old enough to understand the importance of our collective history.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
“Emotionally staggering… They Called Us Enemy also inspires readers to engage through democracy to insist that we treat fellow human beings with fairness and dignity.” — Amazon Best Books of the Month
“Riveting… Takei has evolved into an increasingly powerful voice for oppressed communities, and They Called Us Enemy finds him at peak moral clarity — an unflinching force in these divisive times.” — The Washington Post
“A detailed, wrenching account… They Called Us Enemy should prove the most potent introduction for younger readers to this ignoble chapter in our history.” — The New York Times
“Powerful, moving and relevant.” — Los Angeles Times
“A tale of triumph over adversity.” — BBC America
“A highly readable graphic novel treatment of the internment of Japanese Americans, giving a new generation of young readers a striking example of what the United States is capable of, told from the perspective of someone who personally suffered from that injustice… in a more vivid, first-person account than textbooks and lectures can ever achieve.” — The Comics Journal
George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father’s — and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future.
In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten “relocation centers,” hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.
They Called Us Enemy is Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother’s hard choices, his father’s faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.
What does it mean to be American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do? To answer these questions, George Takei joins co-writers Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker for the journey of a lifetime.
They Called Us Enemy
by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and Harmony Becker
ISBN 978-1-60309-450-4 • Diamond: MAR190630
$19.99 (US) • 208 pages
softcover graphic novel with flaps • B&W interiors • 6.5” x 9”
Published by Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing
Distributed by Diamond Comic Distributors and Penguin Random House