Tonight is our 2021 Big Read/Little Read kick-off event with featured author Joy Harjo! Join us virtually for a discussion about our featured book of poems, An American Sunrise. Joy Harjo will discuss her poems and her insights as an author and as the current US poet laureate. We hope to see you there!

If you can’t attend our kick-off event tonight, no worries! There are many other events and ways for you to participate in our Big and Little Read programs during this next month. If you need convincing, here are my top reasons for why you should get involved in our program this year  

There are almost 50 FREE events!

Most of our Big Read events are open to community members of all ages. And, the majority of them are free! With gratitude to our many sponsors, granting agencies, and partner organizations, we’re thrilled that we get to offer so many events for free to our community members (and beyond)! Take advantage of these opportunities to learn from famous authors and experts…for free!

We are thrilled to have six Native American voices in our programming this year!

For more information, go to our website ( to get more information about our events and to register for them.

There’s an event for everyone! 

We’ve intentionally designed our events to explore our books’ topics and themes from a variety of perspectives and in many different ways. There are lectures, author talks, art workshops, outdoor story walks, gallery talks, films, book discussions, dance performances and more!

The beauty of offering a month-long program of events is that there is bound to be at least one that fits with your schedule and interest. Events are offered on a variety of days and times and in many different locations. 

You’ll learn something!

This photo shows Cultureworks harvesting clay for their event with indigenous artist, Jason Wesaw.

While we want everyone to read our chosen books, we really hope that you to read AND learn. We hope you learn by reading our books and by talking about them with others. We hope you learn about things you didn’t know before from our events and discussions and that you deepen your understanding about things you already knew. We hope you learn more about our community, our country, and our world and we hope our books and events give you insights into others’ experiences and your own. We hope you think and act differently because of this.

This year, we’re excited for our Lakeshore readers to learn about (or perhaps even unlearn) Native American history and culture. Both of our 2021 books are written by Native American authors and the themes within the books address the past, present, and future. Joy Harjo’s book, An American Sunrise, focuses on her heritage, her experiences, and her hardships. Our Little Read book by Kevin Noble, FryBread: A Native American Family Story explores the beauty of traditions and the story of fry bread. We hope our Lakeshore readers enjoy exploring these topics and themes.

You’ll experience art in new ways!  

A key component of our program is our emphasis on the arts. Many of our events are arts and humanities focused. Area schools participating in our program will be creating art in response our books’ topics and themes.

Given that our focus this year is on poetry, we are really excited to help our Lakeshore readers experience poetry in new ways. Listen to our Big Read podcast and get new insights on poetry, poems and poets. Attend Jack Ridl’s poetry event on November 01 and learn new ways of reading and experiencing poems. If you’ve ever been scared or intimidated or indifferent to poetry in the past, we think that if you participate in our program, you might just change your mind about poems!

For these reasons and so many more, join us for this year’s Big Read and Little Read program!

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