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Tokuda Family Love Story

Candlewick Press, hardcover, Kindle, and audio (40 pp., age 6-9, grades 1-4).

By David Yamaguchi The North American Post

Many readers remember and think fondly of the Tokuda family. The Nisei dad George ran Tokuda Drugs for decades. In the 1970s, it was at 17th and S. Jackson. Later it moved to S. Main in the ID. A personable guy, he is remembered for hanging a “Gone Fishing” sign on the front door of his shop whenever he wanted to spend an afternoon at his favorite sport. The librarian mother Tama worked in the UW Suzzallo Library and at the drugstore, while also achieving local celebrity as an actress and writer. Eldest daughter Wendy found fame as a San Francisco and L.A. TV reporter and anchor. Youngest daughter Marilyn similarly found bright stage lights as an actress and staffer in L.A.’s “East-West Players,” an Asian-American theater group. Younger son Kip, who George always fretted about, became a Washington State legislator.

Now, along comes a children’s picture book “Love in the Library” about how the Tokuda parents met: country-boy George — from Mukilteo — first laid eyes on serene Tama when she was the librarian in the Minidoka Camp. 

“George used to come in and check out a lot of books,” she used to say.

Most wonderfully, the story of George and Tama is penned by granddaughter Maggie Tokuda-Hall of Oakland. It is illustrated by Yas Imamura of Portland. It is Tokuda-Hall’s second children’s picture book; she has also written a 368-page novel for young adults.

“Love in the Library” is available this month. Notably, it includes a concluding essay, which probably adds suitable depth to the children’s version of the story, for the Tokuda family story is not without its own hardships. First-born child Floyd (“Butchie’) was born developmentally disabled, possibly related to poor healthcare in the camp.