Planning is picking up speed for the March 19 revival of "Long Beach Reads One Book: featuring George Takei (of "Star Trek" fame) and his graphic novel, "They Called Us Enemy."
Organizing committee chair Susan Redfield said that excitement is high for the event, as is interest by school teachers in several fields. Takei's family was taken to an internment camp during World War II, and the first part of the book talks about that experience — making it a perfect text to start conversations about impacts of prejudice.
The book also talks about Takei's experience on the fabled television show and movie series "Star Trek," and the barrier-breaking decision to cast a Japanese actor in a leading role. It then talks about his travails and stories as a gay man, adding yet another layer of life lessons in the field of social justice.
"The issue is," Redfield said, "we have all of these opportunities to discuss these important themes and values, but we don't have the money to purchase the books needed to take advantage. This is coming up quickly, and we need sponsors and donors to help us with a quick book drive."
The Long Beach City College Foundation is hosting the Long Beach Reads One Book revival, and is coordinating the book drive. All sponsorships and donations are tax-deductible.
Redfield said that a classroom set of books for a teacher, including a learning guide, costs $600. Ten books will run $200.
There are a number of ways to provide books for classes, students or libraries. The foundation has set up a website dedicated to the Long Beach Reads One Book event that includes a donation button. Go to www.LBCC.edu/LBReadsOneBook. Checks also can be sent to Long Beach City College Foundation, 4901 E. Carson St. B12, Long Beach, CA 90808, with Long Beach Reads One Book in the memo line.
Redfield's organizing committee will buy the books and get them to classrooms and libraries.
For sponsorships or specific questions, call the LBCC Foundation's executive director, Paul Kaminski, at 562-537-8334.
In the meantime, Gatsby Books, 5535 E. Spring St., is stocking "They Called Us Enemy," and the book is available online at Amazon.
Takei's presentation on March 19 will be in the LBCC Hall of Champions, and it will be free to all students. Tickets for non-students will be $10 at the door. More information is available at www.LBCC.edu/LBReadsOneBook.