This year’s One Book, One Village in Arlington Heights pick has local connections

There are a few local links that led to the selection of Arlington Heights Memorial Library for “Clark and Division” One book, one village This year’s selection.

Yes, the neighborhood on and around the street corner of Chicago serves as the setting for author Naomi Hirahara’s work, part mystery and part historical fiction. The book was set in 1944 against the backdrop of World War II and the imprisonment of Japanese Americans in camps.

Since Arlington Heights has long been home to a large Japanese and Japanese American population, the library has discussions about books with local groups and at the Kinokuniya bookstore on Mitsawa Market Place.

Library programming around the ninth annual community-wide reading event culminates with an author visit and discussion on October 27, in Forest View Auditorium—now in person again for the first time since the pandemic.

The library hosts a total of 10 book discussions and 14 book-related adult programs, including a Tuesday night lecture by Vernon Hills librarian who spoke about her grandparents’ experiences in the concentration camps.

Sherry Tader, a library information services advisor, told the village council on Monday that local readers had reviewed 1,312 copies of the book after just five weeks of the 11-week reading program. That includes 25 local book clubs, she said.


The book is available in multiple formats, including plain print, large print, audio CDs, e-books, and e-books.

Tader described Clark and the Divide as a mystery that resonates with deep humanity and local connections that reveal a buried part of American history.

In Hirahara’s book, released in August 2021, main character Aki Ito and her family are released from a concentration camp and are about to settle in Chicago. On the eve of their arrival, Aki learns that her sister Rose, who had moved months earlier, had been killed on a subway. The police have ruled her death a suicide, but Aki delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death and the lower part of 1940s Chicago, and learns there’s more to the story.

Another reason library officials chose to highlight the book, Tader said, is that Arlington Heights Library card holders often examine historical mysteries.

“The book uses the past to inspire us to do the right thing now,” she said.

For more information and to register for the programs, visit

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