NEA Big Read 2017-09-25T16:35:18+00:00


NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. It is designed to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.


This year’s NEA Big Read runs from Friday, October 6 through Friday, November 10. To see a calendar of events and learn more about the many workshops, concerts, lectures, film screenings, food events, and more, click here or stop by your local library and pick up a hard copy.

“Don’t worry about what a poem means. Do you ask what a song means before you listen?

Just listen.” – Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo

Here is a paradox. Each Big Read is unique, and each Big Read is the same. The chosen literature dictates a new author, a new literary form, a new historical context; yet year after year we set out to read carefully, to listen well, and to engage honestly, as we strive to broaden our understanding of ourselves, our community, and our world. Thank you for joining the journey!

Our featured author this year is Joy Harjo. She was born in Oklahoma, and is a member of the Muscogee/Creek Nation. Joy is the 2017 recipient of the prestigious Ruth Lilly Prize in Poetry, which honors a living U.S. poet for outstanding lifetime achievement.

Joy Harjo will be visiting our Library District on Saturday, October 21 at 1:30pm at the Boardman Road Branch Library.

How We Became Human by Joy Harjo
Joy Harjo
2017 NEA Big Read

The Library District has partnered with local libraries and organizations to bring many programs highlighting Joy Harjo’s book, How We Became Human. For a calendar and full details of the events, please download the booklet here.

Joseph Bruchac

This year’s Little Read book selections have ignited a firestorm of excitement in our local elementary and middle schools. The reason is, quite simply, author Joseph Bruchac.

Joseph Bruchac is the much loved, award-winning author of over 120 books for children and adults. He is a professional storyteller with an international reputation. Most of his books reflect his Abenaki ancestry and his intense interest in Native American history and culture.

In an interview with Scholastic, Joseph said, “I started to write when I was in the second grade. I wrote poems to my teacher. One day, when she read one to the class, some of the bigger boys got jealous. They beat me up after school. That was my first experience with hostile literary critics. But I kept on writing.”

Joseph Bruchac will visit local schools on November 2 and 3, and perform at the Boardman Road Branch Library at 4 pm on November 2.

Joseph Bruchac
Warriors by Joseph Bruchac
Earth Under Sky Bears Feet Bruchac