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The NEA Big Read: Quincy
The NEA Big Read, Quincy’s popular community read for all ages, will kick off Thursday, January 30, 2020, from 4 to 6:30 pm, at Quincy Public Library. Come pick up your free book and get ready for a month of exciting events! The NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. Quincy Public Library was selected as one of 78 nationwide recipients for the NEA Big Read in a competitive grant process.
Quincy Public Library enjoys wide community support for the NEA Big Read, including the Friends of the Quincy Public Library and additional individual and business donors.
To read more about the grant program, visit the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Books and Authors
Adults and teens can pick up a free copy of A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines, the story of a young Black man who is caught up in a store robbery and accused of murdering a white shopkeeper. Younger readers can select one of two titles: The Watsons Go To Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis or Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter.
Books will be available beginning at the Big Read Kick Off and will continue as long as supplies last. One book per person please.
All three of QPL’s Big Read book selections follow the theme of the Black experience in the United States.
A Lesson Before Dying
Gaines weaves a powerful narrative, loosely based on a true story, about what it means to be human and how we treat our fellow human beings. This story invites us to explore both the nobility and the barbarism that human beings are equally capable of. At the end of the novel, a simple act of resistance to expectations becomes an act of heroism.
A Lesson Before Dying received a National Book Critics Circle Award and was a selection of Oprah’s book club. The HBO made-for-TV movie of the same title received two Emmy Awards. Ernest J. Gaines was a MacArthur Foundation fellow; was awarded the National Humanities Medal; awarded the National Medal of Arts; and holds numerous additional awards. His books have been translated into many languages. He is also the author of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and A Gathering of Old Men. Four of his books have been made into movies.
Read about A Lesson Before Dying on the NEA Big Read website.
Read about author Ernest J. Gaines.
Read community stories about A Lesson Before Dying events.
The Watsons Go To Birmingham
This historical-fiction novel for younger readers tells of a Black family traveling from Flint, Michigan to Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, a tumultuous time during the Civil Rights movement. The book was awarded a Newbery Honor, a Coretta Scott King Honor, the Golden Kite Award, and dozens of other awards.
Christopher Paul Curtis wrote seven other books, several of which were award winning titles, including Bud, Not Buddy, and Elijah of Buxton.
Read more on Christopher Paul Curtis’s web page.
Follow the Drinking Gourd
Follow the Drinking Gourd tells a story of the Underground Railroad. Slaves found freedom by following the drinking gourd – the Big Dipper – in a book with engaging pictures and clarity of language to interest young readers.
Jeanette Winter is a renowned author and illustrator. Her painted illustrations incorporate flat planes of color and uncluttered compositions.
The NEA Big Read: Quincy offers a month of exciting events in Quincy for all ages during February, 2020.
The festivities will begin with Kickoff on Jan. 30 from 4 to 6:30 pm. QPL is pleased to welcome Mr. John Hanlon as the keynote speaker. Hanlon is the Executive Director of the Illinois Innocence Project. The Messengers and Square Peg Troupe will also perform. The community is invited to pick up their free book at kickoff.
For a complete list of programs, please visit our events calendar at https://quincypl.librarycalendar.com/events/month.
QPL is pleased to offer books, teacher’s guides; discussion guides and additional resources for area educators. Call us at 223-1309 to inquire about teacher packets prepared and delivered to you.
The NEA Big Read: Quincy would not be possible without the support from the many corporate, civic and individual donors. Their participation affirms the importance our Quincy community places on literacy and the value of literacy in building a stronger community.
The NEA Big Read, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, showcases a diverse range of contemporary titles reflecting different voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire conversation and discovery.
Studies show that there are multiple physical and cultural benefits in reading for pleasure.
Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,400 Big Read programs, providing more than $20 million in grants to organizations across the U.S. Grantees have leveraged more than $50 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 5.7 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event.
About the NEA Big Read: Quincy and the Little Read
Quincy Public Library began offering the NEA Big Read in 2008. Each year QPL undergoes a competitive grant process, which brings federal dollars to our area, for selection as an NEA Big Read location. Strong community support and participation with the program has encouraged us to continue the NEA Big Read with additional titles since then. Beginning in 2014, QPL began offering the Little Read, following requests for a corresponding program for younger readers.
NEA Big Read and Little Read titles offered in Quincy include: