State hopes nonreaders will find joy and luck in program
Hawaii is launching a statewide project this Sunday to encourage people to hit the books by reading and discussing the novel "The Joy Luck Club."
The 352-page book by California writer Amy Tan, a daughter of Chinese immigrants, was picked for Hawaii's Big Read initiative, part of a national plan created last year to address a decline in literary reading.
The state, which received a $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, will add $24,900 in Department of Human Services money to administer the program, organizers said yesterday at a ceremony at the state Capitol.
Events will run through November and include celebrity readings, theatrical interpretations, movie screenings, cultural events, panel discussions about the book and workshops for teachers. A 4 p.m. performance at Richardson Theater on Sunday will kick off the program.
"We want everyone in the state to be reading her book and say, 'Let's talk story,'" said Mona Abadir, president of the nonprofit Hawaii Capital Cultural District.
Abadir decided to push for the Big Read after discovering that Hawaii and North Dakota were the only two states lacking the program. The National Big Read was started in response to a 2004 survey that found that fewer than half of American adults read literature, she said.
Representatives from the Hawaii Council for the Humanities, Hawaii Capital Cultural District, Manoa Foundation, state Human Services Department and Public Library System chose "The Joy Luck Club" because it contains topics relevant to Hawaii such as immigration and cultural diversity.
Published in 1989, the novel ranges from pre-World War II China to modern-day America and tells the story of four Chinese immigrant mothers and their American-born daughters.
For young readers, Hawaii's Big Read will promote Allen Say's book, "Grandfather's Journey," which is about the author's grandfather's move from Japan to California.