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By: Loriene Honda, Ph.D.

 

The Cat Who Chose to Dream 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 beautiful artwork of Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani, and the inclusion of therapeutic relaxation and visualization techniques, Child Psychologist Loriene Honda demonstrates how the imaginative mind can prove to be one’s most powerful tool in surpassing adversity.

 

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Insight Radio Interview for Cat Who Chose To Dream
  Author Appearances
   
  Learning & Literacy Workshop
Saturday, April 5, 2014
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
   
  Explore the life and legacy of Jimmy Tsutomo Mirikitani, a native Sacramento artist incarcerated at Tule Lake during WWII, in this special literacy and learning workshop featuring a presentation of the book based on his art, “The Cat Who Chose to Dream” by author Dr. Loriene Honda followed by a screening of “The Cats of Mirikitani,” the 2006 documentary film detailing Jimmy’s experiences resulting from his incarceration during WWII, on Saturday, April 5. Scheduled activities include:
   
 

Presentation on The Cat Who Chose to Dream by author Dr. Loriene Honda from 11:00 am. to 12:00 pm


Screening of The Cats of Mirikitani a 2006 documentary film starring native Sacramento artist Jimmy Tsutomo Mirikitani from 12:30 to 1:45 pm

 

Book signing with Dr. Loriene Honda from 2:00 to 2:30 pm

 

Hands-on drawing & literacy activities for kids ages 5 & up from 2:00 to 4:00 pm

 

Self-guided tours of the Museum’s current exhibits including “Uprooted! Japanese Americans During WWII” and The Art of Gaman: Arts & Crafts from the Japanese American Internment, 1942-1946 featuring a painting of Tule Lake by Jimmy Tsutomo Mirikitani from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

 

20% off select Japanese American themed items in the Museum Store from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Free admission for the first 30 advance registrants OR $10.00 advance admission at: eventbrite.com

 

Saturday, May 3

 

2:30 - 4:00

Avid Reader Davis

617 Second St

Davis, CA 95616 http://www.avidreaderbooks.com

   
 

Korematsu celebrated at namesake school

   
 

When the orders came for Japanese Americans along the West Coast to report for incarceration in internment camps in 1942, 23-year-old Fred Korematsu refused.

 

He went into hiding in Oakland, but eventually was found, arrested and convicted of defying the government’s order.

 

His case was ultimately appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court — unsuccessfully, it turned out — and eventually Korematsu found himself in the place he sought to avoid: in an internment camp in Topaz, Utah.

 

There, he suffered for his actions, his daughter, Karen, told students and parents at Korematsu’s namesake school in Davis late last month.

 

He was vilified, she said.

 

“He was alone … he had brought shame to his own family,” she said. “He didn’t have friends. Even his brothers deserted him.”

 

Decades later, of course, he is a hero — celebrated in California on the Fred T. Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution, and celebrated every year at Korematsu Elementary School in Davis. But at the time, he stood alone.

 

“There were very few people who spoke up,” said Marielle Tsukamoto, a former Elk Grove teacher and internment camp survivor. “Fred Korematsu was one of them and he was punished for it.”

 

Tsukamoto and Karen Korematsu were among those attending a celebration at Korematsu Elementary School that included songs, a book reading by Davis psychologist and author Loriene Honda — whose father, Lawrence, was interned at Manzanar — as well as panelists who answered students’ questions about the internment camps.

 

Honda, who had been honored earlier that day at the state Capitol, read from her book, “The Cat who Chose to Dream,” which tells of life in an internment camp from the perspective of a cat who snuck into a camp with his family in order to bear witness to history.

 

The story was based on an actual person, Ralph Lazo, who wasn’t even Japanese but chose to go to Manzanar to witness what was being done to his friends. But not all Americans felt the way Lazo did — that the incarceration of Japanese-Americans was wrong.

 

In fact, said former internee Mas Hatano, “The majority were happy to see us go.”

 

One Korematsu student asked how the internees felt about being betrayed by their own country.

 

Susan Kotarek, a former internee who has three grandchildren attending Korematsu, said many of them complied quietly because they wanted to prove they were good Americans.

 

Karen Korematsu — whose father did not comply — said, “There was no due process, no charges, no hearings and no day in court,” even though two-thirds of internees were American citizens.

“My father learned about the constitution in high school … and was dismayed the Supreme Court did not find it unconstitutional,” she added.

 

Another student asked what kept the internees from escaping.

 

A chain-link fence, several panelists replied.

 

One described seeing a man shot when he ventured too close to the fence. Another noted that half the internees were children not inclined to flee.

 

Asked what their best memories were of the camps, as well as the worst, most pointed to the friendships they made — with people they otherwise would never have met — as the best thing to come out of the experience.

 

But there was a lot of bad, the survivors said, including waking up every morning to the sight of barbed-wire fences.

 

Honda has said her father came out of the experience as “one of the most kind and gentle people I know.”

 

It was his story — as well as her work as a child psychologist in Davis working with children who have been neglected, abused or traumatized — that led her to write “The Cat Who Chose to Dream.”

 

The book features the artwork of Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani, who spent much of World War II at the Tule Lake internment camp, and features a special forward by actor George Takei, who also was imprisoned at Tule Lake.

 

Honda read aloud from the book during Korematsu’s celebration and will have upcoming book readings as well, including at The Avid Reader in May.

   
 
   
  Davis Enterprise By Anne Ternus-Bellamy From page A8 | February 11, 2014
   

   
'Cat Who Chose to Dream' Author to Speak in Davis

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.






Public invited to celebration, reading for Korematsu Day

 By Jeff Hudson From page A3 | January 28, 2014 | 


Fred Korematsu proudly shows off his Presidential Medial of Freedom, awarded by President Bill Clinton. Korematsu died in 2005 at the age of 86. Photo courtesy of Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education

Families affiliated with Korematsu Elementary School and people from the Davis community are invited to attend the school’s annual celebration of California’s Fred T. Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.

The event will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Korematsu Elementary, 3100 Loyola Drive in Davis. It is the climactic finish to the school’s monthlong 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 apanel discussion about life in the World War II internment camps and changes since then.

Fred T. Korematsu, for whom the school is named, fought a decades-long court battle challenging the legal basis for the internment of Japanese-Americans during the war. The panel will include representatives who either lived in the internment 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.

The evening also will include a reading by author Loriene Honda, a psychologist and Davis resident who will present portions of her newly published book for young readers, “The Cat Who Chose to Dream,” which deals with the internment camp experience.

Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, will recognize Honda on the Assembly floor on Thursday. Honda will be accompanied by her father, Lawrence Honda, who was interned at the Manzanar War Relocation Center during World War II. Yamada’s family members also were Manzanar internees.

There will be an opportunity to meet Honda and thepanelists at a reception after Thursday evening’s presentations. According to Wes Hardaker of the Korematsu Parent Teacher Organization, “everyone attending will learn more about an important piece of our nation’s history through a student-led celebration.”



    For Immediate Release: span> January 27, 2014          Contact: Cat Nou – (916) 319-2004

Assemblymember Yamada Commemorates
Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution 

SACRAMENTO- Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (D-Davis) will recognize Davis constituent and children’s book author, Dr. Loriene Honda, on the Assembly Floor on “Fred Korematsu Day”, Thursday, January 30th. Dr. Honda will be accompanied by her father, Mr. Lawrence Honda, who was interned at the Manzanar War Relocation Center during World War II. Assemblymember Yamada’s family members were also Manzanar internees.

 

“In honor of Fred Korematsu Day, it is important to reflect upon our civil rights and the heroes who stood up to protect them,” stated Assemblymember Yamada. “Inspired by illustrations by the late renowned artist and Sacramento native, Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani, Dr. Honda’s book, ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’ tells Jimmy the Cat’s tale of triumph over tragedy and freedom over fear during the Japanese American internment during World War II. My hope is that young readers will be empowered to stand up for themselves and for others by reading this story.”

 

Dr. Honda is a child and adolescent psychologist, using art to help children distance themselves from the pain of abuse and neglect so that they can make strides towards healing. Currently, Dr. Honda serves her community through her private practice in Davis.


In 2010, AB 1775 established the “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution” to honor Asian American Civil Rights Hero, Fred Korematsu, who defied orders of removal during World War II. His failure to report to the internment camp later became the subject of a Supreme Court case challenging the constitutionality of forced incarceration of Japanese American citizens.

 

Assemblymember Yamada will host a reception in honor of Dr. Honda and her book at 10:00 am in Capitol Room 317. Members of the public are invited to attend. Please RSVP by calling (916) 319-2004.



BOOK REVIEWS





 

"Dr. Loriene Honda artfully presents a little-known dark chapter in American history–the World War II Japanese-American internment. Jimmy Mirikitani's hauntingly beautiful drawings live on through an uplifting story of triumph over tragedy and freedom over fear, leaving readers hearts, young and old, filled with the universality of hope. As the daughter of Manzanar internees, I sincerely thank her for sharing Jimmy the Cat's story."

 

 –Mariko Yamada

California Assembly, Fourth District

 

Dr. Honda's book proves that cats really do have nine lives. Bringing to life Jimmy Mirikitani's childhood in the WWII prison camps for Japanese Americans through his remarkable paintings is an amazing convergence of history, healing and hope. Children will not only delight in the colorful images, but will easily identify with Jimmy, the loveable and loving cat, while being irresistibly drawn to mindful breathing and ultimately, healing from their own trauma. A valuable tool for parents, teachers and therapists.

 

–Satsuki Ina, Ph.D.

Emmy award-winning filmmaker and Psychologist

 

"Jimmy was a brilliant star in the universe who I had the privilege of knowing…his work is now preserved in many ways and places. This book is yet another moment I get to spend with Jimmy. I will cherish this book."

 

–John Patrick

Designer

 

“…a beautiful and sensitive book…illustrates the power of the mind to find hope in the midst of trauma and loss–and how the protective capacity of the imagination can foster resilience. With simple narrative and evocative images, the reader is engaged on multiple levels–emotional, cognitive and visceral. …a valuable resource for any parent, teacher or therapist to help provoke thought and discussion with children about traumatic loss in a gentle and nurturing way.”

 

–Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D.

Internationally-recognized child trauma consultant and expert witness on high-profile incidents, including the Columbine High School massacre, Oklahoma City bombing, Waco siege, and YFZ Ranch custody cases.

 

“…deeply moving and immediately useful…shows how traumatic events can be managed by maintaining a focus on things that can be controlled: our refusal to be captured fully, the freedom of our hearts and minds, and the value of our own reparative mechanisms that allow us to break our isolation, and touch others with our voices, our images, and our words of hope…”

 

–Eliana Gil, Ph.D.

Renowned lecturer, author and clinician

 

 

“…creatively helps children to understand injustice, resilience, and adaptation. By weaving the story of a cat who accompanies a Japanese-American family in the World War II internment camps, Loriene Honda successfully helps to promote emotional insight, optimism, and adaptation strategies in children."

 

–Stanley Sue, Ph.D.

Professor and Director, Center for Excellence in Diversity, Palo Alto University

“…a delightful, creative and instructive book…This book will have huge educative value both at home and school settings...(it is) important that the lessons from these events continue to be presented. “

 

–Chester M. Pierce, M.D.

Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Education at Harvard University

 


 
Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani | Artist
©Hiroko Masuike

Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani was born in Sacramento, California and raised in Hiroshima, Japan. At age 18, he returned to the United States to pursue a career in art and settled in Seattle to live with his sister. When Pearl Harbor was bombed three years later, Jimmy, along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans, was forcibly removed under Executive Order 9066. He was sent to the Tule Lake Segregation Center in Northern California, where he was held for nearly four years. After his release, Jimmy pursued training and employment as a cook, eventually working as a live-in chef on Park Avenue. When his employer died in the late 1980’s, Jimmy found himself homeless and began living on the streets of Lower Manhattan, selling his art as a means of survival. It was there that he met film director Linda Hattendorf, who brought him into her home in 2001, after the destruction of the World Trade Center towers made it impossible for him to live on the dusty, toxic-fume-filled streets. Their experience was captured in Linda’s award-winning documentary “The Cats of Mirikitani.” Jimmy’s artworks, including those featured in this book, have been exhibited in multiple galleries and museums in the United States and Japan. For more information about Jimmy, his art, and the film, see: www.thecatsofmirikitani.com.
BOOK FACTS
 
 
Quantity
Other Locations where The Cat Who Chose to Dream is available‏
   

AACP

529 E 3rd Ave

San Mateo, CA 94401

The Avid Reader

617 2nd Street

Davis, CA 95616

Dixon Florist – signed copies

150 East A Street

Dixon, CA 95620

The California Museum – signed copies

1020 O Street

Sacramento, CA 95814

   

Japanese American National Museum

Museum Store

100 N Central Ave

Los Angeles, CA 90012

Nikkei National Museum – signed copies
6688 Southoaks Crescent
Burnaby, BC V54M7
Canada
   
Online Ordering via:  
   
Heritage Source Amazon
Barnes & Noble  
   
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