Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Big Read

ATLANTA, Georgia – The Atlanta History Center - in partnership with the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System - presents the Atlanta Metro campaign, The Big Read. A program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, The Big Read is designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment. The Big Read is the largest reading program in American history and a multi-faceted initiative uniting communities across the nation through great literature. This is the Atlanta History Center’s fourth time participating in The Big Read.
The Atlanta History Center selected Luis Alberto Urrea’s Into the Beautiful North for the 2014 Big Read and encourages the public to get involved by reading the book, attending free programs, and promoting the initiative in their community.
 The Big Read launches on September 3, 2014, with a variety of free programs, including a ‘Taste of Mexico’ kick-off party, a keynote lecture with Luis Alberto Urrea, a StoryCorps event, dedicated discussions and lectures at various Atlanta-Fulton Public Library locations, and a film festival.
 Into the Beautiful North is written by award-winning and best-selling Mexican American author, Luis Alberto Urrea.  Urrea has written numerous works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. In his third novel, Into the Beautiful North, Urrea transcends the "us against them" discourse of immigration and writes with compassion, complexity, and humor about the people and places caught up in the border wars. The U.S.–Mexico border is not just a line on a map; it is a dream-like destination and departure point, surrounded by desperation and expectations. Urrea invites us to think of the border as more than a stark divide between nations: he reminds us that it is a place of convergence where meaningful conversations, and even love, between cultures begins.

Public Program Highlights:
All programs are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.  Reservations are required.  For more information or to make a reservation, call 404.814.4150 or visit

Kick-Off Party – A Taste of Mexico
Location: Atlanta History Center
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
6:00 – 8:00 pm

Join the Atlanta History Center to kick-off the 2014 Big Read with a festive celebration featuring an evening of culinary delights and the exciting sounds of Mexico.

Program staff will be on-site to register participants for the Big Read and to distribute Reader’s Guides and bookmarks.

Coming to America: Stories from Atlanta’s Immigrant Communities
Location: Atlanta History Center
Monday, September 15, 2014
7:00 pm

Celebrate National Welcoming Week with StoryCorps Atlanta and The Big Read by listening to the stories of those who have emigrated from their home countries to the United States. Their stories span the past half century and around the world -- from as far away as Poland, Vietnam, and Ethiopia; to right across the border in Mexico.  

The Big Read’s “Little Read” Storytime
Location: Ocee Library (5090 Abbots Bridge Road, Johns Creek, GA 30005)
Monday, September 15, 2014
10:30 am

Join the Atlanta History Center and Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System at Ocee Library for a “Little Read.” This free storytime activity is designed for children ages 3-5.

The Big Read 2014 Author Talk: Luis Alberto Urrea
Location: Roswell Library (115 Norcross Street, Roswell, GA 30075)
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
2:00 pm

The Roswell Library hosts Luis Alberto Urrea, author of the book, Into the Beautiful North. Meet the author and hear him discuss his book.

Keynote Lecture with Luis Alberto Urrea
Location: Atlanta History Center
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
7:00 pm

Join the Atlanta History Center for an unforgettable evening with Into the Beautiful North author, Luis Alberto Urrea and celebrate The Big Read. This lecture is followed by a book signing.

Into the Beautiful North is a quest novel in the grand tradition, though there are no medieval knights, magic rings, or light sabers within its pages. Author Luis Alberto Urrea sets the novel in the present day, in the highly charged world of the U.S.–Mexico border region.

Nayeli, an energetic and idealistic girl of nineteen, is coming of age in a Mexican village, more than 1,000 miles from the border. She and her friends spend their days working at low-wage jobs and surfing the Internet for videos of their favorite bands and movie stars, dreaming of a wider world they have little hope of knowing.

They live in Tres Camarones (Three Shrimps), a village where folks like things to stay the same. But change is coming fast. Nayeli’s Aunt Irma has just been elected the first female Municipal President of the village. Nearly all of

The Big Read: Into the Beautiful North                                                                                                3

the men of the village, including Nayeli’s father, have gone north to the U.S. to find work, and drug-dealing thugs have recently begun to target the village, anxious to profit from drug-buying American surfers who frequent the nearby beaches.

One night, Nayeli and her friends attend a screening of John Sturges’s classic film, The Magnificent Seven. In the film, a Mexican farming village is terrorized by a bandit until the village elders decide to fight back, electing three farmers to travel to the U.S. to find seven brave gunfighters to help defend the village. Inspired, Nayeli vows to go on a mission to the U.S. to bring back seven men—including her father—to defend Tres Camarones against the drug-dealing bandidos. She persuades her loyal band of friends to accompany her on the dangerous journey, and the quest begins.

Luis Alberto Urrea’s books including Into the Beautiful North will be available for purchase from A Capella Books.

The Big Read Book Chat
Location: Hapeville Library (525 King Arnold Street, Hapeville, GA 30354)
Thursday, September 18, 2014
2:00 pm

Join the Atlanta History Center and the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System at Hapeville Library for a The Big Read book chat on Luis Alberto Urrea’s Into the Beautiful North.

The Big Read Book Chat
Location Bowen/Bankhead Library (2685 Donald Lee Hollowell Pkwy NW, Atlanta, GA 30318)
Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Join the Atlanta History Center and the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System at Bowen/Bankhead Library for a The Big Read book chat on Luis Alberto Urrea’s Into the Beautiful North.

The Big Read Book Chat
Location: Northeast/Spruill Oaks Library (9560 Spruill Road, Johns Creek, GA 30022)
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
4:30 pm

Join the Atlanta History Center and the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System at Northeast/Spruill Oaks Library for a The Big Read book chat on Luis Alberto Urrea’s Into the Beautiful North.

The Big Read Film Festival
Location: Atlanta History Center
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Noon – 5:00 pm

Spend an afternoon celebrating the parallels between page and screen as the Atlanta History Center showcases movies that relate to the topics and themes in Luis Alberto Urrea’s Into the Beautiful North.

Noon                The Magnificent Seven

Into the Beautiful North pays homage to this 1960 John Sturge’s classic Western film in which an oppressed Mexican peasant village assembles seven gunfighters to help defend their homes. This film stars Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, and Charles Bronson.

3:00 pm             Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna)

This film tells the parallel stories of nine-year-old Carlitos and his mother, Rosario. In the hopes of providing a better life for her son, Rosario works illegally in the U.S. while her mother cares for Carlitos back in Mexico. Unexpected circumstances drive both Rosario and Carlitos to embark on their own journeys in a desperate attempt to reunite. Along the way, mother and son face challenges and obstacles but never lose hope that they will one day be together again. This film stars Eugenio Derbez, Kate del Castillo, and Adrian Alonso.