Online Book Discussion Group(s)

About Online Book Discussion Groups


Online book groups are another opportunity for NCTA alumni as well as those who are new to NCTA to strengthen their interest in and commitment to teaching about East Asia in their classrooms. A book is selected by the discussion group leader and is discussed over the course of a few months. In addition to readings, the group may be expected to complete assignments such as discussion posts, reactions to the readings, and pose questions for further analysis. Registration is required for the discussion group and it is open to all NCTA alumni in our 11 state region. There are also book groups that are taught nationwide and are availabe to interested educators in all states. Previous online discussion group books have been Mao Zedong by Jonathan Spence and China's Second Continent by Howard W. French.

Please check back here frequently and on the main page for online book groups.



Event/Opportunity Type: 

Global Issues Through Literature: Factory Girls by Leslie T. Chang

Global Issues Through Literature Book Discussion: Factory Girls by Leslie T. Chang

Thursday, October 15

5:00-8:00 pm (Eastern Time) / 4:00-7:00 pm (Central Time)
Join this free book discussion co-sponsored with our colleagues in at the Global Studies Center.  Factory Girls humanizes the large-scale sociological and economic transformations in China by following two young women who are part of the largest migration in human history--from the rural Chinese countryside into the country's burgeoning industrial cities.
This reading group for educators will explore Chang's book from a global perspective. Content specialists will present the work and its context, and together we will brainstorm innovative pedagogical practices for incorporating the book and its themes into the curriculum. 
Participants will be provided with a free copy of the book.
Pennsylvania teachers will receive Act 48 hours for professional development.

Registration Deadline: October 1, 2020

To register for this program, please visit the link below:

Event/Opportunity Type: 

The Samurai's Garden Online Book Discussion Group


For NCTA Alumni in the University of Pittsburgh’s NCTA Coordinating Site Region 

During the Fall of 2020 Dr. Diana M. Wood will lead an online book discussion group on The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama. While this book was copyrighted in 1994, Dr. Wood read it in 2001 and the intervening years have not erased her remembrance of it.  There are three main characters, two Japanese (one man and one woman) and one young Chinese (raised in Hong Kong but a university student in Guangzhou, China) and the years covered by the story are 1937-8. Almost every moment of this story occurs in the Chinese family’s beach-front home in Tarumi, Japan. While this places our story at the start of WW II, a Ryota poem provided on an introductory page suggests that it is truly about something else.

                                       No one spoke,

                                       The host, the guest,

                                       The white chrysanthemums.

This free discussion group will be conducted asynchronously over the course of two months on the Proboards Discussion Board site (according to the tentative schedule below). You will receive a complimentary copy of the book, which will be yours to keep.  For Pennsylvania teachers, completion of this book discussion will be worth fourteen Act 48 hours.  For teachers in other states we can provide you with a certificate of completion and/or a personal letter from the instructor.  

We are only accepting a limited number of participants in this book discussion group. Registration deadline is September 1, 2020 (or until all slots are filled). Please click this link to register:


Tentative Schedule for Readings/Discussion Board Posts


9/7/20:  Post your personal introduction on the Proboards site


9/14/20: Background reading selections dealing with Zen Buddhism

Preliminary Readings:

"Finding Quiet Within the Noise: How Japanese Traditions Can Help Today's Students" by Linda Ensor Education about Asia vol. 23, #3, Winter 2018.

Zen Buddhism from the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Zen Buddhism: A Short Introduction - National Endowment for the Humanities, Asian Art Museum Video YouTube Video


9/21/20: pp. 3-70  “AUTUMN”


10/5/20: pp. 73-113  “WINTER”


10/19/20: pp. 117-159  “SPRING”


11/2/20:  pp. 163-211  “SUMMER AND AUTUMN”


11/9/20:  Final Thoughts/Reflections


Event/Opportunity Type: