The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with Arts Midwest. The Big Read in Scott County is presented with the support of a host of exceptional local organizations who have joined together to promote the joy of reading.
This year’s selection, “True Grit,” allows the public to get into their western roots and rediscover the meaning of grit.
You are invited to join them in reading the 2014 Big Read pick written by Charles Portis. Take an adventure with 14-year-old Mattie Ross and one-eyed Rooster Cogburn, the meanest U.S. Marshal, as they travel through 19th century Indian Territory (including modern day Oklahoma) to track down Tom Chaney and avenge her father’s death.
The keynote panel discussion on “True Grit and the American West” begins at 1 p.m. today at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. A panel of scholars from the college will explore the characters, themes and plots captured in the book.
Locally, the Scott County Public Library sponsors a Teen Hangman Tournament featuring Wii’s Wheel of Fortune. This event begins at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 10.
Teens will enjoy playing hangman on the Wii system along with a discussion of the criminal justice system of the Wild West.
On Tuesday, April 15, local artisan Maurice VanHook will demonstrate his superior carving at a Western Wood Carving Demonstration, from 3 to 4 p.m.
That same day at 10 a.m. and again at 1 p.m., Women of the West will show you how to create dazzling Western-themed scrapbook pages.
Reading Wranglers, planned for Thursday, April 17, allows family members to meet together at the Wild West Show for a special family fun program featuring “The Toughest Cowboy” by John Frank. The hour-long program starts at 6 p.m.
Teens of all ages are invited to sharpen up their scavenger hunting skills to search for the cowardly Tom Chaney, killer of Mattie’s father as part of the Teen Bounty Hunt set for Tuesday, April 22 at 6 p.m.
Storytime students also get into the action by holding a Reading Rodeo on Friday, April 25 at 10 a.m. Children ages 3 to 5 will enjoy a week’s worth of Western-themed books, games and activities.
The Wild West Hoedown is slated for Saturday, April 26, from noon to 2 p.m. Join the Scott County Public Library for The Big Read finale event featuring a Western social showcasing Western grub, games and music.
You will enjoy everything from corn hole to Cowboy beans, cornbread, Western jewelry crafts and more as you tap your toes to the Western tunes of Spirit.
The Tuesday Nighters Book Club will discuss “True Grit” on Tuesday, April 29 at 6 p.m. They will share insights into the life and times of Mattie Ross and Rooster Cogburn.
For more information, contact the Scott County Public Library at 386-3302 where you can “Start Here…Go Anywhere” through the pages of a great book.
The Big Read answers a big need. Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, a 2004 report by the National Endowment for the Arts, found that not only is literary reading in America declining rapidly among all groups, but that the rate of decline has accelerated, especially among the young. The concerned citizen in search of good news about American literary culture would study the pages of this report in vain.
The program aims to address this crisis squarely and effectively. It provides citizens with the opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their communities. The Big Read supports organizations across the country in developing community-wide reading programs which encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. Organizations selected to participate in The Big Read receive a grant, access to online training resources and opportunities, and educational and promotional materials designed to support widespread community involvement.
The NEA inaugurated The Big Read as a pilot project in 2006 with 10 communities featuring four books. The Big Read continues to expand to include more communities and additional books. To date, more than 1,000 grants have been awarded to communities in the U.S. to host Big Reads since the program’s 2007 national launch.