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Book Group: Five College Center for East Asian Studies NCTA Book Group

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Book Group: Five College Center for East Asian Studies NCTA Book Group

Five College Center for East Asian Studies NCTA Book Group

January 14-Feb. 1, 2019

A Girls’ Guide to the Islands, by Suzanne Kamata

Register at: The application deadline is January 2 or until the book group is filled (maximum 20 participants).

Join us as we read A Girls’ Guide to the Islands, by Suzanne Kamata. “The American writer Suzanne Kamata had lived in Japan for more than half of her life, yet she had never explored the small nearby islands of the Inland Sea. The islands, first made famous by Donald Richie’s The Inland Sea 50 years ago, are noted for displaying artwork created by prominent, and sometimes curious, international artists and sculptors: Naoshima’s wealth of museums, including one devoted to 007, Yayoi Kusama’s polka dot pumpkins, Kazuo Katase’s blue teacup, and a monster rising out of a well on the hour in Sakate, called “Anger at the Bottom of the Sea”―to name a few. Spurred by her teen-aged daughter Lilia's burgeoning interest in art and adventure, Kamata sets out to show her the islands’ treasures. Mother and daughter must confront several barriers on their adventure. Lilia is deaf and uses a wheelchair. It is not always easy to get onto -- or off of -- the islands, not to mention the challenges of language, culture, and a generation gap. A Girls’ Guide to the Islands takes the reader on a rare visit by a unique mother and daughter team.” (P O'Hare Gemma Open Door for Literacy)

This book will be of interest to those who want to learn more about Japan, art, or challenges faced by wheelchair users in Japan. It will appeal to a broad spectrum of students; the contemporary topic, short length and vocabulary list will encourage English language learners and reluctant readers.

The book group will include two weeks of asynchronous online discussions, ending with a required webinar with author Suzanne Kamata on Wednesday, January 30, 2019, 7-8pm Eastern Time. Register here: Smith College professor of Japanese literature Joannah Peterson, who has lived and studied in Japan and uses a wheelchair, will participate in the online discussions to answer questions on her experiences

Participants will receive a copy of the book, to be mailed January 2. Those who complete all requirements will receive a certificate of completion for 4 contact hours.