Friday, January 13, 2012


February Marks the start of Hastings Reads
     Hastings Reads, the community–wide reading program, officially kicks off the first week of February, 2012.  This year's theme is "The Civil War: Why we Remember".  This program seeks to encourage reading and discussion of books and the ways in which they can help us understand the lives and experiences of ourselves and others. Events throughout the week include guest speakers, book discussions, author visits, family events, and a special showing of the classic movie, Gone With The Wind, shown at the Marcus Theater in Hastings. 
     The 2012 Hastings Reads selection of books includes: B is for Battle Cry, by Pat Bauer (geared for elementary age children); Iron Thunder, by Avi (geared for middle grades); and The Widow of the South, by Robert Hicks (for teens and adults).  The Pleasant Hill Library has a limited supply of books which may be checked out during the program.  Hastings Reads is sponsored by the United Way of Hastings, the Hastings Public Schools Foundation, the Ruth and George Doffing Charitable Gift Fund, AAUW, the Dakota County Pleasant Hill Library, and Friends of the Pleasant Hill Library.  It is supported by Hastings schools, the YMCA, Community Education, OASIS, and the LeDuc Historic Estate. 
     There are a number of programs planned which will be held throughout the community during the Hastings Reads program.  Below is a list of the programs.  For more information about Hastings Reads, check out the website at
Hastings Reads Events
The Civil War:  Why We Remember
Saturday, February 4
2:00 pm
LeDuc Historic Estate
Spencer Johnson, local Civil War historian and reenactor, discusses the Civil War and why we remember.  (Students, check with your teacher to see if he/she is offering extra credit.)

Gone with the Wind
Sunday, February 5
1:30 pm
Marcus Hastings Theater
The 1939 film is returning to the big screen for one showing in Hastings!  Gone with the Wind won 10 Academy Awards and is based on Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel.  You don't want to miss this large-screen showing of an American classic. ''
Discussion for Adults & Teens
Tuesday, February 21
6:30 pm
Dakota County Pleasant Hill Library
Community members will enjoy refreshments while discussing Robert Hicks' The Widow of the South.  Allan Cotter, librarian and facilitator of the LeDuc Book Group, will lead the discussion.  (Students, check with your English and social teachers to see if they are offering extra credit!)
Discussion for HHS Students
Thursday, February 23
2:50 pm
Media Center
High school students and staff are invited to the media center after school to discuss Avi's Iron Thunder.  The compelling plot will make for an interesting discussion.  Start reading the book today.  (Students, check with your English and social teachers to see if they are offering extra credit!)
Family Event
Friday, February 24
6 pm – 8 pm
Hastings Area YMCA
(Multipurpose Room)
This event is for families with children in elementary school.  Pat Bauer and David Geister are not only the author and illustrator of B is for Battle Cry; they are also living-history actors.  They will share their love for history and literature with your family.  Bring your young ones to the YMCA for the perfect combination of pizza, books, and fun.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA, and no registration is required. 
Almost to Freedom
Sunday, February 26
1:30 pm
Steppingstone Theatre
Families with children in grades 2-8 are invited to attend the play Almost to Freedom, about the Underground Railroad, at the Steppingstone Theatre.  Tickets include bus transportation and cost $12.  Tickets can be purchased through Community Education.  The bus will leave the middle school parking lot at 1:30 pm.
Middle School Book Club
Mondays-Thursdays, January 9-26
After School
Room 252
All 5th-8th graders from the community are invited to join the Avi book club.  The book club will meet after school Mondays-Thursdays in January.  Your teachers will give you the details.  Join us for reading, discussions, activities, and snacks.  What a great way to prepare for the author's visit!
Avi—Author Visit
Wednesday, February 29
School day and
6:30 pm
HMS Auditorium
Avi, award-winning author of numerous young-adult books, will spend the day at the middle school, speaking with students about Iron Thunder.  In the evening, he will read and perform from his books for the community.  Bring one of his books for an autograph!  (Students, check with your English and social teachers to see if they are offering extra credit!)

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