NEA Big Read 2021

Together We Read

An Evening with Joy Harjo

December 3 at 6:30 p.m.

Join U.S. Poet Laureate of the United States, Joy Harjo, as she discusses her acclaimed book of poetry An American Sunrise (2019) in this live, online event. In this powerful collection of poems, Harjo grapples with both her personal and collective Muscogee (Creek) Nation history as she returns to her family’s land in Oklahoma. Register and attend this special event for a chance to win a free copy of her newest book "Poet Warrior: A Memoir".

Register to participate
Book cover for American Sunrise

Read the Book

Image of Author Joy Harjo

Library copies of An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo are available to request and borrow in print, digitally in the Libby app, and as a streaming audiobook in Hoopla. Borrow a copy or register for events for a chance to win a copy through one of the library’s giveaways.

What is the NEA Big Read?

The NEA Big Read aims to inspire conversation and discovery through a shared experience in which the community reads the same book at the same time.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. El proyecto NEA Big Read es una iniciativa del National Endowment for the Arts (el Fondo Nacional para las Artes de Estados Unidos) en cooperación con Arts Midwest.

NEA Big Read Videos

Online Events Replay

Enjoy short video clips of this year's NEA Big Read events.

Watch playlist

Events and Activities

NEA Big Read Preview

Tuesday, October 19 at 6:30 p.m.

This session will give a first look at the NEA Big Read series celebrating An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo. Be in the know for how to participate throughout November and early December. Register and attend this session for a chance to win a free copy of the book! Stick around to the end for a special reading.

Activities to Go: NEA Big Read 2021

Monday, November 1

Visit the library and pick up activities the whole family can enjoy! This month’s packet is inspired by the NEA Big Read and will include activities that celebrate poetry, Native American history, and autumn harvest. Packets will be available starting November 1 while supplies last.

NEA Big Read Kickoff

Saturday, November 6 at 10 a.m.
At the Tampa Bay History Center

Celebrate the power of poetry and the importance of cultural heritage at this all-ages event. Free copies of the book and additional giveaways for youth are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants are invited to listen to an address by Tampa’s first Wordsmith, local writer and educator, Gianna Russo, and meet with local organizations. For directions and parking information, please visit the Tampa Bay History Center website. Registration is recommended to receive updates prior to the event.

Tampa Bay History Center: Native American Exhibits Virtual Tour

Tuesday, November 9 at 10 a.m.

Join the library online as we get a glimpse at some of the history center’s special spaces including Florida’s First People, The Seminole and Miccosukee Story, and Coacoochee's Story Theater. Video tour and brief presentation will be followed by question-and-answer session with a Tampa Bay History Center representative.

Writing Poetry for Kids and Tweens

Wednesday, November 10 at 6:30 p.m.

Explore and create your own poetry with award-winning author Jaimie Engle. An instructional session on epigraph poetry will be followed by the opportunity for students to make their poetic voices heard. For this session, rather than a smart phone, it is recommended to use a tablet, laptop or computer with webcam.

Cultural Cooking: Fry Bread

Wednesday, November 17 at 6:30 p.m.

Fry bread is both a culinary and cultural touchstone across many indigenous nations. Join Chef Mira as she gives a cooking demo on how to make this delicious dish inspired by the recipe from Kevin Noble Maillard‘s picture book, Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story. Register and attend for a chance to win a free book.

Exploring the History and Heritage of the Muscogee Nation of Florida

Thursday, November 18 at 6:30 p.m.

Learn about the culture of the Muscogee Nation of Florida, followed by a question and answer session with presenter Chris Thompson. Register and attend this event for a chance to win a free book.

One Book One Night

Friday, November 19 at 6:30 p.m.

Join us as we read excerpts from Joy Harjo’s first memoir Crazy Brave. Register and attend for a chance to win a free book.

Youth Out Loud: NEA Big Read

Saturday, November 20 at 1 p.m.
At the University Mall

Teens, make your voices heard in a poetry writing and performance workshop exploring nature, memories, and lived experiences. You will get guidance and feedback in order to produce original poems using tools such as metaphor, personification, and creative writing prompts. Led by the Heard ‘Em Say Youth Arts Collective. This workshop will take place at Uptown Stage at the University Mall.

Poetry on Demand

Monday, November 22 at 6:30 p.m.

Poetry is art that is meant to be heard. Join library staff as we recite some of our favorite verses. Please share your favorite poem in the registration questions down below and we may add it to our performance! Recommended for all ages.

Youth Out Loud Poetry Showcase

Wednesday, December 1 at 6:30 p.m.

Celebrate the fruits of our creative labor with this online poetry performance. We will share selections from the November workshop and discuss poetry techniques and resources with Heard ’Em Say Executive Director, Liz Prisley.

Book Clubs

Book Discussion – Temple Terrace Public Library

Monday, November 8 at 6 p.m.
At the Temple Terrace Public Library

Join other poetry-loving patrons as we read selections from Joy Harjo’s An American Sunrise aloud, have a short book discussion, and then continue that discussion with an open mic in which participants are invited to read their own poems, especially if inspired or influenced by Joy Harjo.

Book Discussion – Bruton Memorial Library

Tuesday, November 9th, 3 p.m.
At the Bruton Memorial Library

Adult Program: Join us for a special discussion featuring Joy Harjo’s An American Sunrise: Poems.

Tampa Bay History Center Book Group

Thursday, November 18 at 10:30 a.m.

Join Tampa Wordsmith of the City, Gianna Russo, to discuss One House Down and her other books of poetry as well as An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo. Register and attend for a chance to win a free book.

Book e-Club for Kids: NEA Big Read

Monday, November 29 at 6:30 p.m.

This month we will read and discuss Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, and other works that honor themes from the NEA Big Read. Recommended for ages 5-7. Register and attend for a chance to win a free book.

Book e-Club: New and Popular

Tuesday, November 30 at 6:30 p.m.

Let's get together and celebrate the best parts of the book! Our November title is An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo. The first 25 to register will receive a free paperback copy of the book!

Book Lists

If You Liked... An American Sunrise

Nonfiction by Native American Authors

Poetry for Kids and Tweens

Native American Heritage Month for Kids and Teens

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. Presented in cooperation with the Friends of the Library of Tampa-Hillsborough County, Inc.

"All cultures and peoples turn to poetry during times of celebration, transformation, and challenge—those times when ordinary language cannot carry meaning beyond our understanding."

Joy Harjo