LO (will) Read Stubborn Twig

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The Lake Oswego Public Library has selected Lauren Kessler's 'Stubborn Twig: Three Generations in the Life of a Japanese American Family' as the book for the 2009 citywide reading program, Lake Oswego Reads.

This will be the program's third year.

Oregon will mark its 150th year of statehood in 2009, and this book is part of Oregon Reads, a statewide program celebrating Oregon's Sesquicentennial. Every community in Oregon with a library will offer opportunities for reading 'Stubborn Twig' between January and April 2009.

''Stubborn Twig' is a fascinating account of an Oregon family from the turn of the last century to the turn of this one. Through the lives of Masuo Yasui and his family, we experience an often-heartbreaking story of hard work and sacrifice. Coming on the heels of last year's Lake Oswego Reads selection, 'Three Cups of Tea,' 'Stubborn Twig' touches on many of the same themes, such as perseverance, the clash of cultures and the difficulties of assimilation, while bringing these issues close to home,' said Bill Baars, director of the Lake Oswego Public Library.

'We are looking forward to another successful community reading program and are looking for residents in Lake Oswego who have Japanese talents or experiences that they are willing to share,' Cyndie Glazer, coordinator of the Lake Oswego Reads program said. 'We also want to hear stories of life in Hood River and/or events surrounding World War II.'

She added that Kessler would speak in Lake Oswego on Feb. 11, 2009.

'Stubborn Twig' tells the story of one Japanese American family's century-long struggle to adjust, endure and ultimately triumph, spanning across Hood River, Portland and Eugene. It begins in 1903, when Masuo Yasui arrived in Hood River to seek his fortune.

This part of the story is similar to other immigrants' tales - years of hard work, loneliness, and struggles with a new language and customs. Yasui, his brother, their wives, and children had sacrificed much to establish a thriving general store and owned several orchards. Yasui, who spoke fluent English, was the acknowledged leader of the Japanese community in the area and an active member of the orchardists' cooperatives, the Methodist Church and the Rotary Club. His family continued to have great success until their lives were painfully disrupted on Dec. 7, 1941. Yasui was arrested as a spy and imprisoned for the rest of the war; his relatives were scattered and some were interned. This book puts human faces and emotions to the events of that period.

New this year will be Lake Oswego Reads programs for children. The Oregon Library Association has selected two titles for children to read as part of Oregon's Sesquicentennial.

'Bat 6, ' written by Virginia Euwer Wolff, compliments 'Stubborn Twig,' as it is the story of a Japanese/American girl on a softball team after WWII. This title is suitable for fourth grade through middle school.

'Apples for Oregon,' written by Deborah Hopkinson, is the story of bringing apple trees to the Hood River valley and covers a more traditional Oregon immigration story of a family coming by covered wagon from the east.

Both authors will be speaking on Feb. 28, 2009, in Lake Oswego.

Thanks to the Friends of the Library, 800 complimentary copies of the recently reprinted 'Stubborn Twig,' which includes a foreword by Gov. Ted Kulongoski, will be distributed to library cardholders at the Jan. 13, 2009 kickoff event at the library. The steering committee is planning additional events for February 2009, based on the book, including speakers on history, Bonsai demonstrations and a koto concert.

Glazer welcomes suggestions for other related events. She can be reached at 503-675-2538 or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

For more information about Lake Oswego Reads, visit the Web site www.lakeoswegolibrary.org .