DAVIS — Dr. Loriene Honda, author of “The Cat Who Chose to Dream,” will give a book reading and signing at two events in Davis this week.
• Thursday, Jan. 30, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Fred T. Korematsu Elementary School at Mace Ranch, 3100 Loyola Dr.; (530) 757-5358. Books will be available for purchase; 40 percent of all sales will be donated to the Korematsu Elementary Parent Teacher Organization.
This event is the climactic finish to the school’s month-long study of civil rights and showcases studies in and understanding of social climate issues. Performances will include songs and poems presented by the kindergarten and transitional kindergarten classes, and a song sung by second- and third-graders. There also will be a panel discussion about life in the World War II internment camps and changes since then.
Fred Korematsu fought a decades-long court battle challenging the legal basis for the internment of Japanese Americans. The panel will include representatives who either lived in the camps themselves or are descendants of those who did. The interview will be led by Korematsu sixth-graders, and the questions posed to the panel have been drafted by the Korematsu classes and will be read by students.
There will be an opportunity to meet Honda and the panelists at a reception after Thursday evening’s presentations. According to Wes Hardaker of the Korematsu PTO, “Everyone attending will learn more about an important piece of our nation’s history through a student-led celebration.”
• Saturday, Feb. 1, from 2 to 3 p.m. at The Pence Gallery, 212 D St.; (530) 758-3370. Books will be available for purchase.
“The Cat Who Chose to Dream” is also available at The California Museum, 1020 O St., Sacramento; The Avid Reader, 617 2nd St., Davis; online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble; and directly from Martin Pearl Publishing.
The book shares the story of a cat’s choice to be incarcerated at a World War II prison camp as a gesture of loving support to the Japanese American family to whom he belongs. We witness through the cat’s eyes the devastating condition of the camp, as well as the sense of injustice he feels seeing his family go through this demoralizing experience.
Young readers also share in the cat’s triumph over feelings of hopelessness and anger, as they witness the cat’s use of breathing and visualization exercises that help transport his creative mind to a place in his heart where he no longer feels encumbered and restrained, but self-empowered and free.
Through the artwork of the late Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani, a Tule Lake internee whose story is told in the documentary “Cats of Mirikitani,” and the inclusion of therapeutic relaxation and visualization techniques, child psychologist and Davis resident Honda demonstrates how the imaginative mind can prove to be one’s most powerful tool in surpassing adversity.
Honda was recognized by Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (D-Davis) at the State Capitol on Thursday morning in observance of Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution. Jan. 30 is the late civil rights icon’s birthday.