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One Book One San Diego 2020: Home

This guide includes information on Ryan Library's programming around the One Book One San Diego book of the year, in addition to resources for further study related to the book's themes.

One Book One San Diego in Partnership with Ryan Library

They Called Us Enemy cover

This year's One Book One San Diego title They Called Us Enemy is a stunning graphic memoir, in which actor/author/activist George Takei revisits his haunting childhood in American concentration camps, as one of 120,000 Japanese Americans imprisoned by the U.S. government during World War II. With unforgettable words and images, the book asks the questions: “What does it mean to be American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do?”

“I tell the story of the choices my parents made to get us through that awful time with hope, love, compassion, and with a deep understanding of what it means to be an American. I look forward to sharing my family’s story with you,” says Takei.

Pick up a free copy of the book on the cart outside on the patio to the North of the Library's main entrance and next to the Smee theology building between 8am and 3pm, Monday through Friday. Contact librarian Robin Lang if you have questions.

Book Summary from publisher: George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his magnetic performances, sharp wit, and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father’s — and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future.

In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten “relocation centers,” hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.

They Called Us Enemy is Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the terrors and small joys of childhood in the shadow of legalized racism, his mother’s hard choices, his father’s tested faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.

eBooks Available through Ryan Library

These ebooks are available through Ryan Library and require a PLNU login.

About One Book One San Diego

One Book, One San Diego is our region's premier literary program, presented in partnership between KPBS and over 80 public libraries, service organizations, universities, and other educational institutions. Now in its 14th year, the purpose is to bring our community closer together through the shared experience of reading and discussing the same book. Ryan Library is a proud partner.

For a calendar of events, visit

Accessing the eBook for Free

San Diego County Libraries (SDCL) has generously provided free access with no wait-time to the electronic copy of They Called Us Enemy. If you don't already have a SDCL library card, signing-up for one is easy.

If your mobile number is not from San Diego County, choose the second option (eCard Application) here and use your PLNU/San Diego mailing address. Once you're registered for a library card or if your mobile number is from San Diego County, use the instructions below.

Instructions to Access eBook (see video below)

  1. To borrow a free electronic copy, click here:
  2. Click the blue Borrow button
  3. Click on the hyperlink that says "Need a library card? Get a free one instantly using your mobile number." 
    1. Or if you already have a San Diego County Library card, type in your card number and pin.
  4. Once borrowed, choose to read the ebook on a Kindle, the Kindle app, or in a browser such as Chrome.
  5. You'll have 14 days to read the graphic novel before your loan will expire and the ebook will automatically disappear from your account.

KPBS One Book, One San Diego Kickoff With George Takei

George Takei headshotWHEN: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 7 p.m.

WHERE: Virtual

AGES: All ages

COST: Free


KPBS presents a special VIRTUAL event with activist and actor George Takei, author of "They Called Us Enemy," the 2020 One Book, One San Diego selection.

The program will also feature a performance by Genbu Daiko from our partners at the Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego and an interview with Mr. George Takei and KPBS Arts and Culture reporter, Beth Accomando.

George Takei's TED Talk: Why I Love a Country That Once Betrayed Me

TED Talk Summary: When he was a child, George Takei and his family were forced into an internment camp for Japanese-Americans, as a "security" measure during World War II. 70 years later, Takei looks back at how the camp shaped his surprising, personal definition of patriotism and democracy.