There are a few local ties that led to the Arlington Heights Memorial Library’s choice of “Clark and Division” as its One Book, One Village selection this year.
Yes, the neighborhood in and around the Chicago street corner serves as a setting for author Naomi Hirahara’s work that’s one part mystery and one part historical fiction. The book is set in 1944 against the backdrop of World War II and the incarceration of Japanese Americans in camps.
And as Arlington Heights has long been home to a large Japanese and Japanese American population, the library is doing book discussions with local groups and at the Kinokuniya Book Store in Mitsuwa Marketplace.
The library’s programming surrounding its ninth annual communitywide reading event culminates with an author visit and discussion Oct. 27, at the Forest View auditorium — now in person again for the first time since the pandemic.
The library is hosting a total of 10 book discussions and 14 adult programs related to the book, including Tuesday night’s lecture by a Vernon Hills librarian who told of her grandparents’ experiences in incarceration camps.
Sherri Tader, the library’s information services adviser, told the village board Monday that local readers have checked out 1,312 copies of the book just five weeks into the 11-week reading program. That includes 25 local book clubs, she said.
The book is available in multiple formats, including regular print, large print, Audiobook CD, eAudiobook and eBook.
Tader described “Clark and Division” as a resonant mystery with deep humanity and local ties that unearths a buried piece of American history.
In Hirahara’s book, released in August 2021, the main character Aki Ito and her family are released from an internment camp and are about to resettle in Chicago. On the eve of their arrival, Aki learns her sister Rose, who moved months earlier, was killed by a subway train. Police rule her death a suicide, but Aki delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death and the underbelly of 1940s Chicago, learning there’s more to the story.
Another reason library officials chose to highlight the book is because Arlington Heights library cardholders often check out historical mysteries, Tader said.
“The book uses the past to inspire us to do the right thing now,” she said.
For more information and to register for programs, visit ahml.info/onebook.