Workshop for Community Partners: Getting Ready for the Big Read

Dates (Same content at each workshop):

Thursday, July 12, 1:30 – 3:45 pm – register here.

Wednesday, July 25, 10 am – 12:15 pm – register here.

Location: Boardman Road Branch Library, 141 Boardman Road, Poughkeepsie

Welcome: Library staff, Book Discussion Leaders, Literacy, or Arts Org Staff

Coordinator: Jewel Ratzlaff, Poughkeepsie Public Library District, (845)485-3445 x 3372

“Can we ever really understand our children? Our parents? I want the answer to be yes.” — Celeste Ng in Omnivoracious

NEA Big Read Author of Everything I Never Told You

Celeste Ng was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and moved just before she turned ten to Shaker Heights, Ohio. Ng’s parents had moved to the U.S. from Hong Kong in the late 1960s. Though Shaker Heights had few Asian American families, it was racially diverse compared to most other American towns, which is why her parents chose to live there. “My family celebrated Chinese holidays and ate Chinese food, but we also went to Wendy’s (my dad’s favorite), watched Disney movies and had cookouts on July 4th,” she said. “Straddling two cultures is strange. I was often acutely conscious of being Chinese, but when I went to San Francisco or Hong Kong, I was acutely conscious of how un-Chinese I was. That’s partly why I’m interested in writing about outsiders” (Shelf Awareness).  As a child, Ng was an avid reader and had dreams of being an astronaut. Ng attended Harvard University and earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

Gene Luen Yang is the creator of the graphic novel American Born Chinese, recipient in 2016 of a MacArthur Fellowship, and a national Ambassador for Young Peoples’ Literature. We have selected Yang’s graphic novel as a companion book for younger readers (Gr. 9-12+) though many adults will enjoy the graphic novel as well.

LITTLE READ: We have selected Wendy Wan-Long Shang’s book The Great Wall of Lucy Wu (Gr. 3-6) as our companion Little Read book for 2018.


This workshop will be shaped by your questions and your plans, though you can expect:

  • Overview of this year’s books and authors.
  • Review major themes in the literature: personal identity, family life, culture, women’s roles, assimilation, communication
  • View several short videos to set the context for the 2018 Big Read
  • Walk through some book group discussion approaches/techniques, with time to share questions and ideas
  • Discuss collaboration ideas that enrich your events: colleges, SPARK Media, etc
  • Discuss how to promote the Big Read in your community, including cookbook collections, Facebook, the Betty Crocker/Celeste Ng hanging book with secret inside!