NEA Big Read 2016


Pick Up the Book

This year Irving celebrates Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea, a wonderfully written novel about the immigrant experience filled with humor and hope. This book for adult readers is a coming-of-age quest centered on the journey into the United States taken by nineteen year old Nayeli and her group of friends, in order to save their coastal Mexican town.
[Find out more about the book].

Join us for a celebration of Mexican culture and pick up a free copy of the novel Into the Beautiful North at the Big Read kick-off events at the South Irving Library on September 18, and the Valley Ranch Library on September 21. After the kickoff, copies of the book can be picked up at the four Irving library locations while supplies last.
[Read more about Big Read events].


Join the Conversation

Books selected for the NEA's Big Read are filled with ideas, emotions and experiences that many readers will connect with, and want to discuss. You are invited to join in the conversation throughout this year's month-long event with several free and open-to-the-public book clubs.

This year's selected title Into the Beautiful North has much to say about people living on both sides of the US / Mexico border. Along with reading the book, you're invited to get a different perspective when the Irving Heritage Society sponsors The Big Blend, a conversation between and about the meeting of Hispanic and Anglo cultures in the United States. Guest speakers include local educators and scholars, and will be chaired by Al Zapanta, president and CEO of the United States - Mexican Chamber of Commerce.
[Read more about Big Read events].


Meet The Authors

Irving welcomes Luis Alberto Urrea, author of the NEA Big Read in Irving's selected book, Into the Beautiful North to the Irving Arts Center on October 5 at 7 p.m. Mr. Urrea will discuss his novel and sign copies of his books, which will be on sale at the event.

This year's Big Read selection of age-appropriate books for children and teens highlight some of the best books by today's Hispanic authors. Along with monthly book club discussions, children, teens and families are invited to meet award-winning writers including Benjamin Alire Saenz (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe), Meg Medina (Burn Baby Burn), and Dr. Rene Saldana Jr. (The Jumping Tree). Irving Public Library and the National Scouting Museum welcomes these writers at special events.
[Discover the Big Read's author events].


Inspire Creativity

Besides reading and conversations, everyone is invited to get creative during this year's Big Read. The rich themes of Into the Beautiful North will inspire many to try their hand at verse or pick up a paint brush.

Writers of all ages are invited to enter The Big Write poetry contest. Cash prizes will be given to the best original poem written on the theme of coming to America. Share your experiences, feelings and transitions about entering a new culture.
[Download the contest rules (PDF)].

Do you have a child artist at home? They'll want to attend a free art workshops with children's book illustrator Carolyn Dee Flores at the Irving Art Center and East Branch Library.

Irving youth, Irving Art Association members and area artists are invited to submit artwork for the exhibit Irving's Big Read: Colors of Mexico. Art received will be shown at two free exhibits by the Irving Art Association and West Irving Library.


The Sponsors

A program of the National Endowments for the Arts, The Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book and creation of meaningful conversations. Managed by the Arts Midwest, this initiative offers grants to support innovative community reading programs designed around a single book.

Irving's Big Read is also generously sponsored through local organizations including the Friends of Irving Public Library, Irving ISD, the Irving Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
[Meet this year's Big Read sponsors].