The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative will present Together We Read, featuring U.S. Poet Laureate and Joy Harjo’s An American Sunrise, this November during the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read. You can participate in many events virtually. The programs are geared for multiple age groups.

The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative (HCPLC) is offering the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Big Read now through Friday, December 3. The Hillsborough County program is delivered in conjunction with National Native American Heritage Month.

The book selected by HCPLC is An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo. An American Sunrise is Harjo’s eighth book of poetry and offers many personal, historical and cultural ideas. Harjo is an award-winning writer and only the second person to ever serve three terms as U.S. Poet Laureate.

This is the fourth NEA Big Read project HCPLC has offered. Past selections have included The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

All of this month’s events and activities are centered around Native American heritage, the impact of poetry and the importance of reading.

According to Matthew David, learning experiences manager for HCPLC, “HCPLC will be offering book discussions for multiple age groups, some in person and some online. The public library is also working with community partners and expert presenters to host programs that honor the series themes of Native American heritage, the impact of poetry and the importance of reading. We have put together four book lists and 16 programs for all ages, including book and history talks, cooking and poetry sessions and a virtual keynote by Harjo.”

David explained why HCPLC selected to conduct its program in conjunction with Native American Heritage Month.

“In addition to the presence of Seminole Tribe of Florida in Tampa Bay and other areas in the state, Florida has been a home to multiple Native American groups, including Ais, Apalachee, Calusa, Creek/Muscogee, Miccosukee, Timucua and Yemassee. This year’s NEA Big Read initiative includes local partnerships with the Tampa Bay History Center and the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art in St. Petersburg, both of which support collections connected with Native American history.”

Most of the events will be virtual. Many of the events will have free book giveaways. You can request copies of Harjo’s book. There is an audio version and an unlimited access to eBook through the library app.

You can visit to learn more about the events and to register.

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