Better Days 2020 Partners with KUED on “Book Club in a Box”
Better Days 2020, a non-profit organization dedicated to popularizing Utah women’s history through education, legislation, and the arts, and KUED, Utah’s PBS station, focused on bringing compelling and relevant stories to broad and diverse audiences, have collaborated on KUED’s latest Book Club in a Box that pairs a PBS documentary and a novel for book club discussion on women’s advocacy.
“KUED is dedicated to engaging our communities through dialogue and projects that encourage critical thinking and social action,” says KUED Coordinator of Community Engagement, Laura Durham. “KUED often brings stories and content to our communities through public screenings and conversations, but the KUED Book Club in a Box makes it easy for individuals to plan a discussion right in their own home with family and friends. The box has everything a host needs to plan a successful discussion, plus some surprises – just for fun.”
KUED chose the film Martha Hughes Cannon, produced by Nancy Green. Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon was a Utah suffragist, physician, polygamist wife, and the first female state senator in the United States. In February 2018, the Utah Legislature with the support of Better Days 2020 elected to send a statue of Cannon to National Statuary Hall in Washington D.C. in August 2020. Better Days 2020 chose an accompanying novel The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd that complements the issue of the women’s rights movement with abolition.
“In Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings, and KUED’s documentary, Martha Hughes Cannon, we meet remarkable women who pushed against established spheres and lived in worlds of contrast,” says Better Days 2020 Director of Education Dr. Naomi Watkins. “These women navigated complex social, political, and religious structures and evoked change in spite of disappointment, loss, betrayal, and ostracism.”
Green produced a film on Martha Hughes Cannon because she was drawn to Martha’s struggles in finding balance between her ideals and the reality she was dealing with. “I see Mattie as someone who was really hard on herself. She always chose the hard road,” says Green. “She could have gone to a women’s medical school, but she chose to go to an integrated school, she didn’t just choose to push for women’s suffrage, she chose to run for office against her husband. Perhaps because she thought it was the more meaningful and noble road. We all strive to do some little good and I think that’s something all women can relate to. Women are still dealing with romance, love, work, reality, and motherhood. We’re still trying to find our voice and equality.”
Each box contains a copy of the book and DVD for the book club host, along with discussion questions prepared by Dr. Watkins. Book clubs must already be established and located in Utah. Book club boxes are free; however, hosts who register for a box must enter an agreement to provide meaningful feedback on the issues and topics discussed in both the film and the book. Your group will consider how these women's stories, their themes, and the abolitionist and women's rights movements impact us today. How do they influence our desire and ability to advocate for others and ourselves? And how do we navigate complex social, political, and religious structures with personal integrity? These boxes will be available to ship January 2, but only a limited number are available. To learn more and to register for your box, visit kued.org/bookclub
KUED's is Utah’s PBS station, providing the entire state with access to exceptional content that entertains, informs, and enriches viewers. KUED airs the full PBS schedule, plus award-winning, locally produced documentaries and series. Recognized as one of the leading public television stations in the country, KUED is committed to serving and engaging with the Utah community through its diverse productions, as well as its educational and outreach programs. KUED is always evolving to provide Utahns with relevant programming and services, while maintaining its core values of integrity, fairness, independence, education, and innovation. KUED also provides three additional broadcast channels: WORLD, PBS Kids 24/7, and Create.
About Better Days 2020
Better Days 2020 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to popularizing Utah women’s history through education, legislation and the arts. Better Days 2020 has created the first Utah women's history curriculum, in preparation for the anniversary of Utah being the first place where a woman cast a ballot in the modern nation. The year 2020 will commemorate women’s history in Utah, celebrating Utah Territory women’s first vote in 1870, as well as the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted U.S. women the right to vote. To learn more and/or support, visit www.betterdays2020.org