Oxford Hills residents to learn about China

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PARIS – “Yeh Yeh’s House” by Evelina Chao is the 2007 One Book One Community selection for Oxford Hills Reads. It is a memoir by Chinese-American Chao, who recounts her experiences while traveling to China in 1987 with her Chinese-born mother.

Throughout March, Oxford Hills readers will discuss the book and learn more about Chinese history and culture through the related programs. There are seven book discussion groups and five Monday evening programs and all are open to the public.

Contact the following participating libraries for information about the locations, dates and times: Bolsters Mills Village Library, Freeland Holmes Library in Oxford, Harrison Village Library, Norway Memorial Library, Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Library, Paris Public Library, Waterford Library and West Paris Public Library.

The kick-off, “A Taste of China,” will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26, in the high school Forum. Craig Blanchard, history teacher and developer of the high school’s China exchange program, will present highlights of 20th century Chinese history in a talk accompanied by slides. Blanchard will also talk briefly about the exchange program.

Copies of “Yeh Yeh’s House” will be available for purchase at $5 each, opportunities to preregister for programs will be offered and items of Chinese culture will be displayed by high school students in the China program. The event will be topped off by Chinese appetizers from local restaurants.

Four Monday evening programs will further highlight aspects of Chinese history and culture. The topics will include bonsai, tai chi, brush painting, making wontons and Chinese language. There will be a talk by Bates College Professor Dennis Grafflin on “How Chinese Is It?” and a viewing of the film “China’s Mega Dam,” about the Three Gorges Yangtze River dam project.

The wrap-up event, “Let’s Go to Yeh Yeh’s House,” will be a trip to the Essex Peabody Museum in Salem, Mass., to visit the Yin Yu Tang House on Saturday, March 31. The late Qing Dynasty merchant’s home was transported from China and re-assembled in its entirety at the museum. Learn about the eight generations of the Huang family who lived in it through a guided tour arranged by the One Book One Community program.

For more information about any of the activities, attend the kick-off on Feb. 26 or contact any of the participating libraries.

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