Greenwich Reads Together
When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka has been chosen for Greenwich Reads Together 2013. Two thematically related companion books for younger readers were also announced. Greenwich Reads Together (GRT) is a community-wide reading experience which will engage all of Greenwich in exploring a single book. Greenwich Reads Together will take place between April 22 and May 3.
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.
Author Julie 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 Frances Femina Foreign Novel prize. Her book The Buddha in the Attic won the PEN/ Faulkner Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award.
Two companion books for younger readers were also announced: Best Friends Forever: a WWII Scrapbook by Beverly Patt, and The Eyes of the Emperor by Graham Salisbury.
Besides the traditional print format, When the Emperor was Divine is available in eBook and downloadable audio format via Greenwich Library's Overdrive digital book service. It's also available in CD Audiobook and in Japanese.
They may also be purchased at local bookstores including Diane's Books.
Click here to download a copy of this podcast.
Programs and Discussion Groups
Click here to read the 2013 Program Brochure, which includes a schedule of events and discussion groups for children, teens and adults.
Click here to see what's planned for Greenwich Reads Together in the Greenwich Public Schools.
For GHS Events, click here.
Click here for details on the 2013 Greenwich Reads Together Essay Contest, open to students in grades 6-12. Two cash prizes of $250 were awarded at the GRT closing event. Here you may read the winning and honorable mention essays:
Dr. Laura and Mr. Robert Glanville
- Christ Church of Greenwich
- First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich
- The Friends of Byram Shubert Library
- The Friends of Cos Cob Library
- The Friends of Greenwich Library
- Greenwich Academy
- Greenwich Alliance for Education
- Greenwich Arts Council
- Greenwich Historical Society
- Greenwich Independent Schools
- Greenwich Library
- Greenwich Library Board of Trustees
- Greenwich Pen Women
- Greenwich Public Schools
- Greenwich Rotary Club
- Retired Men's Association
- Temple Sholom
When the Emperor Was Divine Links
Also by Julie Otsuka
- The Buddha in the Attic, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2011
- Come, Japanese! Granta, Winter 2011
- Guest Blogger at Powells.com, Aug. 22-26, 2011
- In the Café, Essay written for Powells.com
- Julie Otsuka on Her Family's Wartime Internment In Topaz, Utah, Newsweek, Oct. 2012
- Camp Harmony Newsletter Archive—courtesy of the University of Washington Libraries. The Camp Harmony News-Letter was first issued on May 5, 1942, just days after the opening of the Puyallup Assembly Center and ended with a souvenir edition on August 14, 1942. The newsletter originally began as the community paper of Area A but expanded with issue 4 to cover the entire camp.
The newsletter covered WRA and WCCA announcements, camp recreational and sporting events, births and other community news.
- Discovering Collection—Collection of history, literature, biography and social science resources for student in middle school and up.
- Gale US History in Context—Provides full-text access to periodicals and reference sources, contains over 70,000 images, nearly 5,000 primary source documents as well as video and audio.
- Teaching with Documents: documents and photographs related to Japanese relocation during World War II—From the National Archives; includes primary source material such as the official transcript of Executive Order 9066 and many photographs taken of daily life in the camps.
Selected Further Reading
- Davis, Daniel S.— Behind Barbed Wire: the imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II: New York, Dutton, 1982
- Ford, Jamie— Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: New York, Ballantine, 2009
- Grant, Kimi Cunningham— Silver Like Dust: one family's story of America’s Japanese internment: New York, Pegasus Books, 2012
- Guterson, David— Snow Falling on Cedars: San Diego, Harcourt Brace, 1994
- Hirabayashi, Lane Ryo— Japanese-American Resettlement Through the Lens: Hikaru Iwasaki and the Wra's Photographic Section, 1943-1945: Boulder, University of Colorado Press, 2009
- Houston, Jeanne Wakatsuki— Farewell to Manzanar: Boston, Houghton-Mifflin, 2002
- Miyahara, Lorraine Leiko— Internment: a true story: Memories of a 13 Year Old Girl 1941-1944: West Hartford, CT: Lorraine Leiko Miyahara, 2012
- Ng, Wendy L.— Japanese American internment during World War II: a history and reference guide: Westport, Conn, 2002
- Oppenheim, Joanne— Dear Miss Breed: New York, Scholastic, 2005
- Robinson, Greg— By Order of the President: FDR and the internment of Japanese Americans: Cambridge, Mass, Harvard University Press, 2001
- Takemoto, Paul Howard— Nisei Memories: My parents talk about the war years: Seattle: University of Washington Press, c2006
- Tateishi, John (ed.)— And Justice For All: an oral history of the Japanese American detention camps: New York, Random House, 1984
Click here for a bibliography of Japanese music
materials at Greenwich Library
Click here for a bibliography of Children's nonfiction and fiction
materials at Greenwich Library
Click here for a bibliography of films
at Greenwich Library
About Greenwich Reads Together
The inaugural Greenwich Reads Together selection was Markus Zusaks groundbreaking novel, The Book Thief. The 2012 selection was Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. Last spring, almost 20 community organizations participated in Greenwich Reads Together, and more than 3,000 Greenwich residents participated in events, including a live Skype telecast with author Dave Eggers. Additional programs featured celebrated artists from literature, jazz, and photography, as well as renowned names from national news and government. Numerous adult, children and teen book discussions were held across Greenwich.
For more information:
Previous Greenwich Reads Together Events
The Book Thief