October 2, 2008

Big Read Event to Feature ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Actress

By Imani Tate

Staff Writer

Mary Badham, the actress who played Scout in the classic courtroom drama "To Kill A Mockingbird," will be among the special features of the 2008 Pomona Big Read events.

Big Read officials involved in the literacy campaign conducted by Cal Poly Pomona Downtown Center, Pomona Public Library, Pomona Valley Historical Society, Pomona Unified School District, Fairplex and the city selected Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "To Kill A Mockingbird" as the book everyone should read or re-read this fall.

The Big Read is "an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest," said project coordinator Jonnie Owens.

The community-wide program begins today with a kickoff celebration from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the university's downtown center at 300 W. Second St. Activities continue through Nov. 8 in various locations around town.

Badham highlights the calendar of events with her discussion of playing Scout, the tomboy daughter of high-principled attorney Atticus Finch. Award-winning actor Gregory Peck played Finch who defended Tom Robinson, the black character unjustly accused of raping white Mayella Ewell. Brock Peters played Robinson in the film recently named No. 1 courtroom drama by the American Film Institute.

Badham will discuss the significance of "To Kill A Mockingbird" within the context of race relations in America as well as the life- altering experiences of working on the movie. She will speak from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Pomona Ebell Museum of History, 585 E. Holt Ave. on Oct. 23.

"You will never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view ... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it," Atticus' advice to Scout and words which dramatically impacted Badham's non-cinematic life.

A reception follows Badham's speech. Garments from the early 1930s, the Great Depression era that served as the book's setting in Alabama, will be displayed.

Big Read events will be held at various sites.

CAL POLY POMONA DOWNTOWN CENTER: 6 to 7:30 tonight, kickoff celebration; Big Read Challenge, Oct. 11, 6 to 9 p.m. during the Second Saturday Art Walk; screening of the movie "To Kill A Mockingbird," Oct. 17, 6 to 8:30 p.m.; Big Read Fall Family Festival at Family Fun Days, Oct. 25, 1 to 4 p.m., featuring art, storytelling, book giveaways and literacy activities for children; ArtScene writer and author Ray Zone, Oct. 30, 6 to 7:30 p.m.; Big Read closing celebration, Nov. 8, 6 to 8 p.m.; Big Read partner celebration, Nov. 13, 6 to 7:30 p.m.

POMONA PUBLIC LIBRARY: Film screening and discussion of "To Kill A Mockingbird," 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Oct. 8 and 25; library adult book-talk, 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 16 and 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 22; library Spanish book-talk with attendees receiving a free Spanish language copy of the text, noon to 2 p.m. Oct. 18; library book- talk moderated by Dr. Denisa Chatman-Riley whose research includes African-American women writers, Oct. 18, 2 to 4 p.m.; young adult Harper Lee biography author Kerry Madden author talk, Oct. 22, 4 to 5:30 p.m.; Big Read fun day of family activities, vintage clothing, 1930s memorabilia, crafts and children's story time, Nov. 8, 1 to 5 p.m.

FAIRPLEX: Trivia Bee for Literacy, Nov. 6 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Film screenings and discussions will additionally be held at Palomares Senior Center, 9:30 a.m. to noon Monday; La Casita Teen Center, 3 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday; and Ganesha Community Center, 6 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 29. Mockingbird Family Nights will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 15 at Westmont Community Center and Oct. 22 at Washington Community Center.

The city of Pomona's annual Chalkart Festival from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 8 will involve professional artists and children in a chalkart competition with themes from "To Kill A Mockingbird" and 120 years of Pomona history. Prizes will be awarded for best of theme, most creative and most realistic for the chalkart drawn in the Thomas Plaza at Second and Thomas streets.

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