Book to Action 2021 Kicks off at Goleta and Santa Ynez Valley Libraries

Community reading program explores equity, diversity and inclusion through George Takei’s “They Called Us Enemy”

The Goleta and Santa Ynez Valley Libraries have launched their third annual Book to Action program, which centers around the themes of equity, diversity and inclusion found in George Takei’s stunning autobiographical memoir They Called Us Enemy. Community members throughout the Goleta and Santa Ynez Valleys are invited to read this compelling book together and participate in engaging online programming that will honor this story and celebrate inclusion for all.

They Called Us Enemy uses the powerful format of graphic novel storytelling to bring to life George Takei’s childhood experiences as a Japanese American who was forced from his home into an internment camp during World War II. His story of courage and the challenges faced by his family spotlights issues of racism and injustice that remain at the forefront of global conversations today.

The Goleta and Santa Ynez Valley Libraries are providing three options to read this memoir. Free copies of the book are available while supplies last at the Goleta, Buellton and Solvang Libraries during Sidewalk Service on Wednesdays – Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Copies are also available to borrow through the library catalog and as a free, instant-download eBook in English and Spanish from Hoopla, one of the library’s popular streaming and download services.

While reading this incredible true story, community members are invited to participate in a number of enriching online programs for all ages from March through July 2021. Programming kicked off March 31 with the beloved children’s craft The Kindness Rocks Project and will be followed in April by the Teen Bookmark Design Contest, where teens can design an original bookmark that celebrates what equity means to them. The Book to Action program also features inclusive storytimes and cultural craft workshops that will provide engaging, age-appropriate opportunities for the whole family to participate in. A full schedule is available here.

The slate of programs lined up for Book to Action 2021 includes an online artist visit from They Called Us Enemy illustrator Harmony Becker, who will join us on May 22nd to discuss her experiences developing the spectacular illustrations for George Takei’s memoir. The libraries are also honored to host several guest speakers from the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition, who will share their firsthand and family accounts of incarceration at detention centers across the country. Online book discussions for adults and teens will foster conversations about They Called Us Enemy, and Writer’s Workshop and Poetry Club programs will explore how writers use their craft to highlight injustice. Online film screenings of the documentaries And Then They Came for Us and Children of Internment will be followed by participatory discussions.

All Book to Action programs will be held online. For more information and a schedule of virtual events, visit the Book to Action page on our website at

Book to Action is a program of the California Library Association, supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.