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(Image by: Amanda Branham) Sacramento resident Judie Panneton, author of “Proud Americans: Growing Up As Children Of Immigrants,” was at Time Tested Books on 1114 21st St. on Thursday to read excerpts from her book and sign books for the audience.
“I was a child of immigrants, and my parents were Holocaust survivors,” Panneton said. “I felt really, really different. I just wondered if any other children of immigrants felt different.”
The book, a collection of stories from various people Panneton talked to over the seven years it took her to complete the book, gives a glimpse into the lives of children of immigrants and their parents who came from all over the world.
“Just about everybody knows somebody in Sacramento who is a child of immigrants,” Panneton said. “If you want to get somebody to talk, just say to a child of immigrants, ‘So what was life like for you growing up?’”
Panneton read excerpts from seven different stories to a crowd of 100 people that ranged from small children to middle-aged and seniors, many of different descent. At one point she asked her friend Elisa Provence, whose father is Holocaust survivor, to read from her story in front of the audience. (Image by: Amanda Branham)
During the question-and-answer section, one of the audience members, Leora Amir, raised her hand and announced that her story was in the book and she would like to share it with her family and the audience.
Amir told the audience that her father moved from Baghdad to Israel and finally to New York to marry her mother. Amir was born in New York, and her family moved to Sacramento when she was 6 years old.
“This is the first time I thought of myself as being a child of an immigrant,” Amir told The Sacramento Press. “I was raised in two different cultures, a nd those are both really different cultures than when we got here in Sacramento.”
After she answered questions from audience members, Panneton stayed an hour to sign books and talk to the audience members one on one. At this time, everyone talked to each other, many of whom were in the book and were meeting for the first time.
Mazelle Lolmaugh, Assistant Manager at Time Tested Books, organized the event after Panneton called the bookstore. For Lolmaugh, this reading hit close to home.
“It wasn’t until she actually asked how many people are children of immigrants,” Lolmaugh said. “And I didn’t realize I was a child of immigrants until she asked that question.”
Panneton, who has lived in Sacramento for 26 years, noted that this was a true success story for an independent local bookstore to host a local author and have the response it did.
“Here’s an independent bookstore in a time when bookstores are challenged by people having other ways of people getting their literature,” Panneton said. “Look at how well it turned out tonight. We had a community tonight.”
All 45 copies that were available sold out, with 12 on backorder. Lolmaugh told The Sacramento Press she is ordering more copies and they should be available in a couple weeks. For additional information on the book or Panneton, visit the website.