From a Press Release by the City of San Leandro -
On Saturday, June 30, at 2 p.m. Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, the prizewinning author of the modern classic Farewell to Manzanar, will honor the at 300 Estudillo Avenue by kicking off an exciting series of "California Reads" events.
Jeanne Wakatsuki was seven years old in 1942 when her family was uprooted from their home and sent to live at Manzanar concentration camp with 10,000 other Japanese Americans amid barbed wire, searchlight towers and armed guards. She has said that it took her 25 years to be able to talk about what happened.
Co-written with her now deceased husband Jim, Jeanne's memoir is a modern classic, often compared with The Diary of Anne Frank as an example of poignant literature on the effects of war on youth and the human spirit.
"California Reads" is a statewide reading and discussion program developed by Cal Humanities in collaboration with the California Center for the Book and with the support of the California State Library. (You can see an interview with the author here from the Cal Humanities website.)
The theme of the program is "Searching for Democracy." It is designed to animate public conversation on the nature and needs of democracy. Through a wide range of public programs leading into the 2012 elections and beyond, students, families and people from all walks of life will explore what discoveries and lessons about democracy lie in works of fiction and nonfiction, provocative cultural exhibits and public conversations.
“In this time of crass partisanship, Americans need to come together for meaningful conversations about the real issues of the day – and the fundamental values of our democracy,” said Ralph Lewin, President and CEO of Cal Humanities. “San Leandro Library is providing a unique opportunity and alternative – for local residents to examine the evolving nature and needs of our democracy in a meaningful but accessible way.”
“This year’s "California Reads" program offers a wonderful opportunity for all San Leandrans to learn about a difficult time in America’s history, helping us recognize how important it is that we all value and participate in our democracy.” said San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy.
At the June 30 event, you can join a book club to discuss Farewell to Manzanar. Discussions will be held throughout the summer. You can also host your own book group with friends. A limited supply of books is available to those who join or start a book group.
Admission is free when the author appears and refreshments will be served. Call 510- 577-3971 for more information