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We Are Not Strangers

We Are Not Strangers

ISBN: 9781419759949
By Josh Tuininga
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Inspired by a true story, this graphic novel follows a Jewish immigrant’s efforts to help his Japanese neighbors while they're incarcerated during World War II.
“A powerful book about advocating for friends and neighbors during times of great division.” —Kazu Kibuishi, #1 New York Times bestselling author-illustrator of the Amulet series

An evocative and beautiful graphic novel revealing the truth of one man’s extraordinary efforts, We Are Not Strangers converges two perspectives into a single portrait of a community’s struggle with race, responsibility, and what it truly means to be an American.
Marco Calvo always knew his grandfather, affectionately called Papoo, was a good man. After all, he was named for him. A first-generation Jewish immigrant, Papoo was hardworking, smart, and caring.

When Papoo peacefully passes away, Marco expects the funeral to be simple. But he' caught off guard by something unusual. Among his close family and friends are mourners he doesn’t recognize—Japanese American families—and no one is quite sure who they are or why they are at the service. How did these strangers know his grandfather so well?
Set in the multicultural Central District of Seattle during World War II and inspired by author Josh Tuininga’s family experiences, We Are Not Strangers explores a unique situation of Japanese and Jewish Americans living side by side in a country at war.

Following Papoo’s perspective, we learn of his life as a Sephardic Jewish immigrant and his friendship with Sam Akiyama, a Japanese man whose life is upended by Executive Order 9066, which authorized the incarceration of nearly all Japanese Americans and residents of Japanese ancestry. Determined to keep Sam’s business afloat while he and his family are unjustly imprisoned, he and Papoo create a plan that will change the Akiyama’s lives forever.

"At its core, a relatable tale of friendship, shared experiences of discrimination, and the power of individuals to make a difference." — The Beat

Introduction by award-winning author Ken Mochizuki
Afterword by Devin Naar, author of Jewish Salonica