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Hastings Reads 2012 events are set

"Hastings Reads" - simply put, that's the goal of the community-wide program set to begin.

The program encourages reading and discussion of books by all ages. That discussion then can help more people understand their lives and the experiences of themselves and others.

The 150th anniversary of the Civil War is being remembered this year through the selection of reading materials for students, programs for families and a one-time showing of a Hollywood film classic at the Hastings theater.

Books for the different student levels are set. The elementary selection is: "B is for Battle Cry" by Pat Bauer, a Prescott author whose husband David Glister illustrated the book. The selection for those in middle grades is: "Iron Thunder" by Avi. For teens and adults the selection is: "The Widow of the South" by Robert Hicks.

The theme, "The Civil War: Why We Remember," will be presented by at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at the LeDuc Historic Estate, 1629 Vermillion St. Spencer Johnson, Hastings Middle School teacher and Civil War historian, will lead the discussion.

A special showing of the movie, "Gone With The Wind," will be presented the following day, Sunday, Feb. 5, at 1 p.m., at the Marcus Theater in Hastings. The film won 10 Academy Awards and is based on Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

A special Pleasant Hill Library event is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21. Librarian Al Cotter will lead the discussion of the Robert Hicks' "The Widow of the South."

In this novel, Carrie McGavock, "The Widow of the South," took it upon herself to grieve the loss of many young men in the battle of Franklin, Tenn., which took place on Nov. 30, 1864. A total of 9,000 lost their lives that day. She and her husband John eventually re-buried on their own land 1,481 Confederate soldiers killed at Franklin, when the family that owned the land on which the original shallow graves had been dug decided to plow it under and put it into cultivation.

Author Avi's "Iron Thunder" book will be discussed at Hastings High School discussion at 2:50 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, in the high school media center.

In "Iron Thunder," when his father is killed fighting for the Union in the War Between the States, 13-year-old Tom Carroll must take a job to help support his family. He manages to find work at a bustling ironworks in his hometown of Brooklyn, where men are pounding together the strangest ship Tom has ever seen -- a ship made of iron. Tom soon learns that the Union army has very important plans for this iron ship called the Monitor. It is supposed to fight the Confederate "sea monster"--another ironclad, the Merimac. But almost no one believes the Monitor will float.

Bauer and Geister, author and illustrator of "B is For Battle Cry," as well as living history actors, will share their love of history and literature with families at the Hastings YMCA from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24. There will be pizza, books and other activities. Membership to the Y is not necessary.

Families with children in grades two to eight are invited to attend the play, "Almost to Freedom," about the underground railroad, at the Steppingstone Theater Sunday, Feb. 26. Admission is $12 and can be purchased at Hastings Community Education. The bus will leave at 1:30 p.m.

The month-long activities conclude Wednesday, Feb. 29. Avi, the author of "Iron Thunder," will spend the day at the middle school speaking to all students. In the evening he will read from his books in the middle school auditorium at 6:30 pm. The evening session is open to the community.

Sponsors are the United Way of Hastings, the Hastings Public Schools Foundation, the Ruth and George Doffing Charitable Gift Fund, the Hastings Branch of the AAUW, the Pleasant Hill Library and Friends of the Library.