#VelshiBannedBookClub: George Takei’s ‘They Called Us Enemy’

George Takei’s “They Called Us Enemy” is a powerfully crafted graphic novel about finding strength in pain – using the clear language and expressive, comic-book style drawings of a children’s book to tell a very adult story. In response to the deadly strike on Pearl Harbor in 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 – systemically stripping Japanese-Americans of their civil rights, their homes, their property, and their dignity. 120,000 Japanese Americans, including the Takei family, were forced into barbed wire-lined concentration camps across the nation simply for having Japanese heritage. The book moves effortlessly between the naivete of a young boy in the internment camps and the more complex and darker reflections of older Takei today. While “They Called Us Enemy” is a poignant memoir and commemoration of this brutal time in America’s not-so-distant past -- it also honors heritage, community, and family.