Local author writes sensitive story about Japanese youngster moving to America
“Ayumi’s Violin” by local author Mariko Tatsumoto is an insightful book written for tweens, and it also is totally engaging for anyone who admires good writing and enjoys a sensitive story about a youngster moving to America.
When her Japanese mother dies, Ayumi is 12. With financial help from her mother’s musician friends, she sails on a freighter to meet and live with her American father near Pasadena. He greets her with warmth and love. But he has a wife named Marilyn and another daughter named Brenda, age 10. These two are not at all welcoming. In fact, Marilyn is a racist and Brenda is spoiled and resentful of her new step-sister.
The story is sensitively and compassionately told from Ayumi’s point of view as she admires much about the U.S., especially having come from a very poor environment in a country where space is at a premium. She is amazed that her Dad’s car “has a room of its own,” that “houses were so far apart that she’d have to shout at a neighbor to be noticed instead of being heard through thin walls…” and that she has a room of her own. “Only the Emperor could have a room like this,” she mused.
But Ayumi feels like a misfit faced with unfamiliar customs. Even though she speaks English well, she faces outspoken prejudice, bullying and culture shock – in her home, in her neighborhood and at school. Without giving away the plot, it will be Ayumi’s talent in playing the violin that will move the story to its inspirational conclusion. Along the way, the author teaches life lessons in a sympathetic, un-patronizing way.
Author Mariko says this tale is not about her life, although she has experienced prejudice like Ayumi did. She was born in Tokyo and then moved to Pasadena with her mother and older brother to join her father, a researcher at the California Institute of Technology. Her father’s job at the U.S. Geological Survey brought the family to Denver, and Mariko has been a Colorado resident ever since. She attended the University of Colorado and practiced law in Denver and Aspen. A skiing trip to Wolf Creek brought her and her husband to Pagosa, where they bought land and built a house in 1996. Mariko credits local writer and former library staff member Julie Loar with encouraging her to write fiction.
For your reading pleasure, Mariko has donated a copy of “Ayumi’s Violin” to the Sisson Library. If you want your own print copy or e-book, it is available on Amazon. The author expects to self-publish two more books in February – “Accidental Samurai Spy” and “Kenji’s Power.”
Closed for Thanksgiving
Your library will be closed November 26-29 for a long Thanksgiving weekend and for carpet cleaning. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
Showcase for local authors
Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. this Thanksgiving weekend, local authors will be signing and selling their books for the first time at the Artisans Black Friday and Saturday event at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. We have a huge number of talented local authors in Pagosa, so this is a good opportunity for you to see their works.
Activities calendars available
To be sure you don’t miss any of the free activities available to you and your families at your library, we encourage you to pick up a copy of the events calendar each month. There are three versions – kids (includes tweens), teens and adults.
No science session on Wednesday, December 2 or Teen Advisory meeting on Thursday, December 3.
Free health insurance and avalanche safety
Next Thursday, December 3 we’ll host two special adult programs: A health insurance session from 10-11:30 a.m. when you will learn about Medicaid, Connect for Health and medical savings plans for seniors; and an avalanche safety event at 5 p.m. when Mark at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center will discuss hazard recognition, safety equipment and Internet resources. The health insurance program will be repeated on December 10 from 10-11:30 a.m. No registration required for these sessions.
Free Christmas movie
Friday, December 4 from 2-3:30 p.m. we’ll show a G-rated Christmas movie, a funny variation of a classic Christmas tale.
Free healthy eating session
Join us at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, November 30 for a free healthy eating discussion series is running from October through December, taught by part-time library staffer Zoe Groulx. The class, which will cover many of the principles of Weston A. Price, is part of the ALPS program through San Juan Fellowship.
Free Spanish class
Join us at 3 p.m. on Monday, November 30 for a free beginning Spanish class that is running from October through December, taught by part-time library staffer Zoe Groulx. You will learn Spanish in a friendly and welcoming environment. This program is part of the ALPS program through San Juan Fellowship.
Free technology sessions
Meg Wempe is available for the highly popular Tech Tuesdays and Thursdays sessions 10-noon Tuesdays and 3-5 p.m. Thursdays. Drop in with your technology questions. A more formal session requiring advance registration is MS Word Basics on Monday, November 30 from 10:30 – 12:30 p.m. You will learn how to handle word processing tasks, make bulleted lists, insert pictures and more.
Free teen gaming
Teen gaming happens Tuesdays from 4 – 5:30 p.m. for teen gaming fans in the 7th-12th grades.
Free preschool storytime
Join Miss Leah every Wednesday from 10-11 a.m. when preschoolers and their families are invited to enjoy an hour of stories, music and a craft to develop early literacy skills. Recommended for three- to five-year-olds.
Free baby/toddler time
This is a half hour of stories, songs and fingerplays with Miss Leah for you and your little ones on Saturdays from 9:30 – 10 a.m. Recommended for children from six months to three years of age.
Free programmed Nooks
Reminder: We have nine Nooks and three tablets programmed for your e-reading pleasure. The eight adult content e-readers contain either fiction or nonfiction bestsellers. The four youth e-readers contain books for children, juniors and young adults.
“Falling like Snowflakes” by Denise Hunter is a Summer Harbor Christian romance. “Fear the Dark” by Kay Hooper is a Bishop/Special Crimes Unit mystery. “The Last Midwife” by Sandra Dallas is a crime story set in 1800 in a small Colorado mining town. “Who Do You Love” by Jennifer Weiner follows the lives of two youngsters who meet in the ER. “Vince Flynn’s The Survivor” is a Mitch Rapp mystery by Kyle Mills.
“The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances” is “all about the terrible and wonderful reasons we wake up each day” to run regardless of weather. “Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant” by Roz Chast is a memoir is a memoir of a desperate time in the author’s life. “The Witches: Salem, 1692” by Pulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff is a fresh look at the Salem witch trials. “The Art of Memoir” by Mary Karr is an exploration of one of today’s most popular literary forms. “The Apple Cider Vinegar Cure” by Madeline Given offers 130 recipes and remedies to heal your body inside and out. “Why Sinatra Matters” is a tribute in honor of Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday with a new introduction by author Pete Hamill.
Thrillers and mysteries
“Crimson Shore” by Preston and Child is the latest in the Pendergast series. “The Promise” by Robert Crais is an Elvis Cole and Joe Pike suspense story. “The Muralist” by B.A. Shapiro looks at the disappearance of a young American painter in New York City in 1940. “Sunfail” by Steven Saville is an end-of-the-world thriller set in New York City.
“Watchman” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons is said to be ruthlessly psychological realism. “Black Wolves” by Kate Elliott is a fantasy. “The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto” by Mitch Albom is about a musically talented Spanish war orphan.
“NASA” is a five-DVD set about 50 years of space exploration. “How the Earth Was Made” is from the History Channel. “Food, Inc.” is an expose of the nation’s food industry. “Up” is a Disney Pixar animated film. “H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine” is the classic film. “The World is Not Enough” is a Pierce Brosnan 007 film.
“The Bazaar of Bad Dreams” by Stephen King is a collection of 20 short stories. “Corrupted” by Lisa Scottoline is a Rosato and DiNunzio mystery. “Stars of Fortune” by Nora Roberts features a seer and a magician on the Greek Island of Corfu. “The Crossing” by Michael Connelly is a Harry Bosch thriller. “Rogue Lawyer” by John Grisham is a legal thriller.
Come in and take a look at the wide variety of music CDs we have available to borrow, thanks to donations from patrons like you. You’ll find blue grass, classical, jazz, rock and more for your enjoyment.
Free downloadable movies
For your viewing pleasure, we have purchased IndieFlix, a streaming movie service that gives library patrons unlimited access to more than 7,500 award-winning and popular independent shorts, feature films and documentaries from more than 50 countries – on your device, PC or Mac, with no apps needed. Also, PBS content is now live on the IndieFlix website. Access IndieFlix through the Downloadable Content icon on the library website.
Thanks to our donors
For books and materials this week, we thank Kristal Fortune, Cathne Holdt and Sheila Lane.
“Don’t be afraid of missing opportunities. Behind every failure is an opportunity somebody wishes they had missed.” Lily Tomlin, contemporary American comedian, actress, writer and producer.