Long Beach Reads 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

Long Beach Unified School District will host six events as part of the citywide "Long Beach Reads One Book," next week. The book is Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. The goal is to encourage all to read and discuss this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The Long Beach Public Library Foundation event features guest appearances, readings, lectures, concerts, scene re-enactments, screenings of the movie version and essay contests: • Monday, February 24--Mary Badham, the actress who portrayed the young girl Scout in the movie To Kill a Mockingbird will visit Jordan, Poly and Lakewood high schools. Badham will discuss her role and the significance of her cigar box filled with treasures. Badham connects timeless themes occurring in the book, movie and life. • Wednesday, February 26--Mockingbird expert Claudia Durst Johnson will lead discussions at Millikan and Wilson high schools. She will explore the novel's historical and literary context, offering students and teachers deeper insights into the book. • Wednesday, February 26--At Long Beach School for Adults, Mary Badham will describe her role as Scout in the film version. A discussion session will follow her presentation. • Wednesday, February 26--Award-winning film music composer Elmer Bernstein, nominated for 13 Oscars, will conduct the Poly High School orchestra in musical selections composed by Bernstein, including the Golden Globe award-winning music of Mockingbird. A panel discussion will follow featuring Bernstein; actress Mary Badham; author Claudia Durst Johnson; and Stephen Peck, son of actor Gregory Peck, who portrayed attorney Atticus Finch in the movie. • Thursday, February 27--Every third grader will receive a free dictionary. More than 9,000 dictionaries will be distributed. A presentation at the Main Library will recognize sponsors and distribute the first dictionaries to Edison Elementary School students. • Thursday, February 27--An examination of the trial in To Kill a Mockingbird will be presented by the Long Beach Bar Association at the Main Library. Winners of the high school essay contest will also be presented.