This November marked my second year working for the Big Read Lakeshore. As a future teacher, the Big Read and Little Read Lakeshore programming has taught me a lot about the importance of reading and what it means to read in community. My first year working with the Big Read program and reading An American Sunrise helped prepare me to read Madeline Miller’s Circe.
One connection I see between An American Sunrise and Circe is the focus on different perspectives and revisionist history. I did not learn about boarding schools and other aspects of Native American history until a course in college because that version of the story was left out of the history. Similarly, Circe’s version of the story was not included in the original Odyssey, so this book gives a new version of the story. This emphasizes the importance of looking at things from different perspectives other than your own.
Another similarity between these two programs was the opportunity to learn from intelligent women that were passionate about their subjects. Both Joy Harjo and Madeline Miller have been teachers and authors. They studied and perfected their craft and are now able to share this gift with audiences like our community.
Lastly, readers were able to get a broader picture of our book by bringing in speakers to approach things from all different perspectives. Last year things were approached from a poetry and a historical perspective. This year the program thought about Greek Mythology as a retelling from another point of view, her origins in the Odyssey, comic strips, and as a musical performance.