Posted November 3, 2021 | 8:40 AM

Tampa-Hillsborough Libraries Hosts Countywide Reading Event

NEA Big Read 2021 Celebrates Reading, Culture, and Thought-Provoking Perspectives

Hillsborough County, Fla. (Nov. 3, 2021) - Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative is hosting NEA Big Read 2021, a monthlong community reading event that starts Nov. 6.

In celebration of Native American History Month, the literary event will focus on themes centered around Native American heritage, the impact of poetry, and the importance of reading. The goal is 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.

The chosen book this year is "An American Sunrise" by Joy Harjo, United States Poet Laureate. In the powerful collection of poems published in 2019, Harjo grapples with both her personal and collective Muscogee (Creek) nation history as she returns to her family's land in Oklahoma.

NEA Big Read 2021 kicks off Saturday, Nov. 6 at 10 a.m. at the Tampa Bay History Center. Participants will hear a presentation by the very first Wordsmith of the City of Tampa, local writer and educator Gianna Russo, and get the chance to take home a free copy of Harjo's book.

While reading this year's chosen book, participants are encouraged to take part in family activities. Readers can visit a local library to pick up an Activities to Go packet, which includes fun items that celebrate poetry, Native American history, and the autumn harvest. Packets will be available while supplies last or download the activities from The NEA Big Read series will have sessions for multiple age groups and some for all ages.

The event culminates with a special live online event where readers will hear from Harjo herself. "An Evening with Joy Harjo" takes place Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. The first 25 people to register for this special event will receive a free paperback copy of her newest book "Poet Warrior: A Memoir."

To register for any one of the NEA Big Read 2021 programs, visit Borrow "An American Sunrise" from your local library or enjoy unlimited digital access now through Dec. 3. For information on how to sign up for a library card, visit


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