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Author Naomi Hirahara Speaks at AHS

Program at Altadena Community Center is Free and Open to Public
730 E. Altadena Drive, Altadena CA 91001
The star of author Naomi Hirahara’s series of award-winning mystery books, Mas Arai, is a Japanese gardener living in post-World War II Altadena.
Now, Ms. Hirahara will speak on her childhood years in Altadena and the experiences of Japanese-Americans in 20th century Los Angeles, at 7:30 p.m. Monday April 25 at the Altadena Community Center, 730 E. Altadena Drive.
The free, illustrated program, open to the public, is sponsored by the Altadena Historical Society.
“Altadena had a small community of Japanese immigrants and their families, with a church and at least one business, in the pre- and post-war years,” said Jane Brackman, Ph.D., president of the Historical Society.
“Ms. Hirahara has woven her experiences and memories of those years into her books, and we are honored and delighted that she will share them with everyone on April 25,” Brackman said.
Hirahara is the author of five books in the Mas Arai series, with the sixth–”Sayonara Slam”–due out in May.  She also has authored two mystery books featuring a Los Angeles bicycle policeman.
Hirahara was born in Pasasdena in 1962, and lived in Altadena with her family until they moved to South Pasadena in 1971.  She still lives in South Pasadena.
Her father was born in California, but was taken to Hiroshima, Japan, as an infant, and was only miles away from the epicenter when the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb there in 1945.  Her mother, born in Hiroshima, also survived, but lost her father in the blast.
After the war, her father returned to California and eventually established himself in the gardening and landscaping business, as did so many other Japanese-Americans after being released from the camps in which they were incarcerated during the war.
Naomi and a younger brother were raised in Altadena and then South Pasadena.  She graduated from Stanford University, and was a reporter and editor for Los Angeles’s Rafu Shimpo Japanese newspaper, covering the reparations movement for Japanese-Americans forced from their homes and businesses and incarcerated during the war, as well as the L.A. riots and their aftermath.
In addition to her mystery novels, she is the editor of “Greenmakers: Japanese American Gardeners in Southern California;” an award-winning book for young adults; and several biographies and histories.
She will bring several of her books to the April 25 program for sale and autographing.
Altadena Historical Society has its offices and archives in the Altadena Community Center, and is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, and by appointment.

The current exhibit at the society is “Altadena in the Rose Parade,” which will run through June.