Greenwich Reads Together in the Greenwich Public Schools
Click on the image for the GRT Slideshow
The Greenwich Public Schools participated significantly in Greenwich Reads Together 2013, participating in events open to the entire community and events open only to students. Included among the public events, were:
- a program entitled The Future Day of Radiant Peace presented by storyteller and playwright Catherine Ladnier at the Greenwich Historical Society on April 30 in collaboration with Harry Sakamaki, GHS sophomore Aya Okada, and GHS senior Kaho Yamamoto (watch the video);
- More than 60 GHS students submitted essays to the GRT Essay Contest sponsored by the Greenwich Rotary Club and GHS junior Fiona Young received first prize in the high school category and CMS 7th grader James Change won the middle school category, answering the following question: How does your reading of When the Emperor was Divine (or Eyes of the Emperor) affect your thinking about prejudice toward immigrants and other minorities in the United States today? GHS freshman Ali Maloney and CMS 8th grader Peter Dunay received Honorable Mention for their submissions. (read the winning essays; watch the May 1 awards ceremony video).
During the first week of Greenwich Reads Together, Greenwich High School held seven GRT-related programs. GHS students participated in an after school book discussion and GHS Headmaster Chris Winters led a faculty/staff book discussion. On April 25, Greenwich High School held GRT Discussion Day at GHS - a full day of GRT-related programming and more than 800 students and faculty members attended a variety of programs, including:
- an author talk with When the Emperor was Divine author Julie Otsuka, attended by more than 450 middle school students, high school students, and faculty (watch the video);
- a panel moderated by former superintendent of schools, Dr. Ernie Fleishman, that featured two people who discussed life in the Japanese internment camps - Yuriko Otani and Hayla Lead Molnar (watch the video);
- a program entitled The Future Day of Radiant Peace presented by storyteller and playwright Catherine Ladnier in collaboration with Harry Sakamaki and GHS sophomore Aya Okada (watch the video); and
- a screening of the documentary Time of Fear.
In addition, students at GPS middle schools read all three of the GRT books: When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka, Eyes of the Emperor by Graham Sallisbury, and Best Friends Forever: A WWII Scrapbook by Beverly Patt and held a number of programs and discussion groups, including:
- Central Middle School: a student, parent, and faculty international dinner and book discussion was facilitated by local Young Adult author Sarah Darer Littman on Tuesday, April 30; Best Friends Forever author Beverly Patt met with students on April 23; and students conducted group read-alouds during their Academic Advisory bases.
- Eastern Middle School: a student, parent, and faculty breakfast book discussion was held on April 24 featuring Beverly Patt and facilitated by local Young Adult author Sarah Darer Littman and students were involved in Advisor Base activities throughout April related to the discussion themes raised in the GRT books that inspired discussion and action against discrimintation.
- Western Middle School: a student, parent, and faculty pizza dinner book discussion was facilitated by Greenwich Library Teen Librarian Margaret Walsh on April 24 and students and faculty held lunchtime discussion groups for all three books throughout April.
Finally, students at three town elementary schools read Best Friends Forever: A WWII Scrapbook by Beverly Patt and/or Eyes of the Emperor by Graham Sallisbury, and and held a number of programs and discussion groups, including:
- The International School at Dundee: Best Friends Forever author Beverly Patt met with students on April 24 and Media Specialist Jeannine Madoff lead discussion groups with 4th and 5th graders throughout April.
- North Street School: Media Specialist Terese Case led booktalks througout April; students reviewed historical highlights related to the GRT books and participated in small discussion groups using their eBook readers and guided questions; and students shared and discussed their observations about the GRT books using the North Street School GRT Blog.
- Old Greenwich: Best Friends Forever author Beverly Patt met with students on Tuesday, April 23 and 4th and 5th grade students participated in lunchtime book discussions with Principal Patricia Raneri, Media Specialist Kristine McHarg, and other teachers throughout April.
About Greenwich Reads Together: Greenwich Reads Togetheris a community-wide reading experience which will engage all of Greenwich in exploring a single book. Several community organizations are leading this initiative including Greenwich Library, Greenwich Arts Council, Greenwich Historical Society, Greenwich Alliance for Education, Greenwich Pen Women, Greenwich Public Schools and private schools and Friends of Greenwich Library. Greenwich Reads Together 2013 is supported by Lead Sponsor Wiggin and Dana, LLP as well as Connecticut Center for the Book at Connecticut Humanities, Friends of Greenwich Library, Greenwich Library Board of Trustees, Dr. Laura and Mr. Robert Glanville, Rotary Club of Greenwich and Whole Foods Market Greenwich.
About When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka: On a sunny day in Berkeley, California, in 1942, a woman sees a sign in a post office window, returns to her home, and matter-of-factly begins to pack her family's possessions. Like thousands of other Japanese Americans they have been reclassified, virtually overnight, as enemy aliens and are about to be uprooted from their home and sent to a dusty internment camp in the Utah desert. In this lean and devastatingly evocative novel, Julie Otsuka tells their story from five flawlessly realized points of view and conveys the exact emotional texture of their experience: the thin-walled barracks and barbed-wire fences, the omnipresent fear and loneliness, the unheralded feats of heroism. When the Emperor was Divine is a work of enormous power that makes a shameful episode of our history as immediate as today’s headlines.