Each year the National Endowment for the Arts spearheads a program called the NEA Big Read. This initiative aims “to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.” Since the program began in 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,400 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $19 million to organizations nationwide.
Locally, the Chesapeake Children’s Museum has been selected as one of many nonprofit organizations nationwide to present the NEA Big Read this year. This year’s Big Read book is “Citizen: An American Lyric,” a book-length poem by Claudia Rankine, which chronicles the microaggressions Black people face daily, and discusses larger incidents of discrimination, and violence against Black people in America.
The museum is coordinating with community partners including Anne Arundel Community College, Anne Arundel Public Library, Asbury United Methodist Church, the Banneker-Douglass Museum, Center of Help, and the City of Annapolis to present book discussions and activities around the book, as well as around racism, and ways to combat it in our community.
Big Read Events
Events run from mid-October to Mid-November, and include four talks with the author, race workshops for kids and adults, World Kindness Day activities on November 13, Community conversations, poetry workshops, and performances by Building Better People Productions called “We Got It! A Show About Empathy.”
For more information on the Big Read, follow along on its Facebook page, facebook.com/thebigreadannearundelcounty, register for events with the Children’s Museum at theccm.org, and find more events, book recommendations and free movies through Kanopy with the Anne Arundel County Public Library.
You can check out the official brochure, which also includes recommendations for more books by local authors and suggested activities for kids.