Activities planned for community in celebration of Greenwich Reads Together 2013

BooksGreenwich plays together — at least for the month of April — as multiple opportunities to engage in activities centered around the 2013 Greenwich Reads Together book, When the Emperor was Divine, are provided to the community.

The Steering Committee for Greenwich Reads Together 2013 has released the program lineup for this year’s book which covers a wide variety of material, including a visit from the book’s author Julie Otsuka. Additional programs feature first-hand accounts of internment, traditional Japanese music and crafts, as well as a panel discussion including renowned names from news and academia. Numerous adult, children and teen book discussions will also be held across town.

Greenwich Reads Together is a community-wide reading experience that engages all of the town in exploring a single book. The community is invited to join any of this month’s related programs, which are free and open to the public.

On April 12, the 1976 film Farewell to Manzanar will be shown at 8 p.m. in the Cole Auditorium at Greenwich Library. Then on April 20, an origami class for children will be held for ages six and up at 1 p.m. at the library. Preregistration has begun for this activity.

A discussion of Lorraine Leiko Miyahara’s memoir, Internment: Memories of a 13 Year Old Girl (1941-1944), will take place on April 22 at 1 p.m. in the Greenwich Arts Council Meeting Room. Later that day is an activity for children ages four to 10 where participants draw and tell a Japanese story in celebration of Earth Day in the Children’s Room at Greenwich Library.

An Author Talk with Julie Otsuka is set for Thursday, April 25, at 7 p.m. at Greenwich Library and Ms. Otsuka will speak to public and private school students earlier in the day. Ms. Otsuka is a recipient of the Asian American Literary Award, the American Library Association Alex Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and, most recently, she was awarded the Frances Femina Foreign Novel prize.

Then on April 28, the community is invited to attend a traditional Japanese music concert featuring Sumie Kaneko and Nobuko Miyazak at 3:30 p.m. at Greenwich Library. The end of the month will be rounded out by a discussion on The Future Day of Radiant Peace, a Remembrance Through Personal Letters on April 30 at 7 p.m. at the Greenwich Historical Society.

Finally, a panel discussion entitled “Indefinite Detention: How did it happen? Can it happen again?” is set for May 1 at 7 p.m. in the Cole Auditorium at Greenwich Library. Panelists include Caroll Bogert, deputy executive director of Human Rights Watch, who has extensive international news experience and holds a Master’s degree in East Asian studies from Harvard University; Kevin Buterbaugh, Ph.D., associate professor of international relations and international political economy at Southern Connecticut State University and journalist Grant Ujifusa, chair of the Japanese American Citizens League and a key player in securing the passage of the historic Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which provided redress for grievances caused by the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The panel will by lead by Ernie Fleishman, former superintendent of Greenwich Public Schools.

A number of discussion groups for community members of all ages are also on the horizon, beginning first with the Middle School Book Club on April 25 at 4:30 during which students in grades sixth to eighth will discuss one of the Greenwich Reads Together companion books, The Eyes of the Emperor, by Graham Salisbury. Pre-registration required, call 203-622-7915 for information.

Then on May 2, the Juniors Book Club will meet at 4:30. Students in grades fourth to sixth will discuss the Greenwich Reads Together companion book for younger residents, Best Friends Forever: a World War II Scrapbook, by Beverly Patt. Pre-registration required, call 203-622-7940 for information.

The Cos Cob Library will offer book discussions which are open to all, but aimed primarily at adults. The Brown Bag Book Club will meet on Wednesday, April 17 at 12 p.m. Additionally, The Retired Men’s Association will host a discussion on April 23 at 10 a.m. in the same location.

The First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich will host a discussion on April 28, at 11 a.m. and the Sholom Center at Temple Sholom will host a discussion at its weekly Lunch and Learn program on April 23 from noon to 1 p.m. To RSVP, contact Alice Schoen at 203-542-7165.

Finally, the Greenwich Rotary Club will hold a discussion on May 1 at 1:30 p.m. at the J House Hotel.

In addition to the above listed programs, there is a student essay contest with two $250 prizes sponsored by the Rotary Club of Greenwich and a book donation drive for the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich organized by the Greenwich Alliance for Education.

Visit greenwichreadstogether.org to find book, film and music suggestions for further exploration, as well as discussion guides, links to interviews with the author and much more.

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