Author Visits Petersburg

Author, Karleen Grummett, admiring the poster describing her book, Quiet Defiance: Alaska’s Empty Chair Story, and detailing her visit to the Petersburg  (Alaska) Public Library on her book signing visit last October.

Book display.

Karleen was invited to give a presentation about the Empty Chair Project by Jessica Ieremia, a librarian at the Petersburg Public Library, following the publication of her book, Quiet Defiance: Alaska’s Empty Chair Story.

Copies of the book were donated to the library and were available for purchase. A book signing by the author followed the presentation.

Japanese families from Petersburg were among those sent to Minidoka from Alaska during World War II. Some of them, such as the Kito family, relocated to Juneau after the war and became part of the Empty Chair story.

A banner situated just inside the front door of Petersburg’s beautiful library explained the Empty Chair Project to curious patrons.

“Meet the Author – Alaska’s Empty Chair Story”:  Notice on digital screen located in the check-out section of the library.

A model replica of an ocean-going seiner carved by Tom Kito during his stay at Minidoka during World War II. The Kito family was one of the Petersburg families incarcerated there for the duration of the war.

Karleen delivering her Power Point presentation on the Empty Chair Project with the aid of her daughter Stacy Grummett Sedgwick.

Stacy happily inhabiting her podium and controlling the flow of the Power Point.

A strand of cranes was presented to the library by Mrs. Grummett. In Japanese culture, cranes can represent healing, hope and peace during difficult times. Jessica Ieremia, the librarian who invited Karleen to speak about the project and her book, accepts the colorful cranes on behalf of the library.

Pictured above are Stacy Grummett Sedgwick, Karleen Grummett, Margie Shackelford, Roxy Lee and her daughter Heidi Lee. Roxy and her family made us feel very welcome in Petersburg!

While in Petersburg, we went to visit the Harry Kito Bridge. After Harry died while serving his country during the Vietnam War, the city dedicated the bridge in his honor.

Karleen’s presentation was very well received, and our Petersburg visit made us feel we had gained additional support and enthusiasm for the Empty Chair Project. Thank you Petersburg!!

How to Purchase a Book:

Because the book was written through a National Parks Confinement Sites Grant, the book is not commercially available. It can be purchased through the Japanese American National Museum’s online gift shop or by contacting the Juneau-Douglas City Museum or the Alaska State Museum in Juneau.