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Next Chapter Book Club – Vancouver: May 2017

May 15, 2017
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We have been very busy with reading our current book, Heart of a Champion, and two special events: a trip to the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby, and an evening dinner with visiting professor, Dr. Chris Kleiwer.

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Our current book takes place in 1941 in Vancouver. The story is about a Japanese-Canadian family. At the Nikkei Museum we learned about the way the Canadian government treated Japanese-Canadians and the tragic history of internment camps. There were lots of photos about what life was like back then. We saw a model of a camp, just like the one the Sakamotos (the family in our book) were sent to in New Denver. There was even a baseball field at the internment camp. Our museum guide took us to the back and showed us an Asahi baseball uniform. The Asahi were a winning baseball team in the 1940s that were great at bunting and played “brain ball” and won many games. At times our book is depressing, but at the museum we learned that people survived at the internment camps by keeping each other’s spirits up. We also learned that people of all ages played baseball at the internment camps.

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The museum also had an exhibit of Japanese-Canadians who fought in World War I. We saw women wearing kimonos and practicing their dance routines, origami crane art and photos of the fishing boats in Steveston.

The visit brought the book to life. We would like to go back to the museum, and even visit Japan one day! We really think others would enjoy going to the Nikkei Museum.

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Our evening with Dr. Chris Kleiwer was lots of fun. He did not know about Next Chapter Book Clubs so we explained how the group works. We read our book and showed Chris how we read and talk about a book. We ate pizza, talked about the plot of the book – the Sakamoto family who were now living in a shack at an internment camp and what was happening to Japanese-Canadians in the 1940s. This was new information for Chris. Liz and Aaron drew our conversation. We think sharing about Next Chapter Book Clubs is important, particularly to small communities who may not know of our existence. We discussed the educational challenges that many people with disabilities face. It would be great if someday all kids with disabilities were in classes with their peers, where everyone is equal regardless of ability. Next Chapter Book Club shows others that we are capable of learning.

If you are interested in joining Spectrum’s Vancouver Next Chapter Book Club there are sometimes spots available, usually when participants are moving from one book to another.   Please email aaron@spectrumsociety.org and I will get you in touch with the right people!  

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