Big Read

An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Showcasing a diverse range of contemporary titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, the NEA Big Read aims to inspire conversation and discovery.

The 2017 Big Read centers on Luis Alberto Urrea's book "Into the Beautiful North," with related free events offered throughout Greater New Haven. If your organization would like take part, please submit your event below. Past Big Read events at a variety of venues have included book club discussions, panel discussions, lectures, exhibitions, and poetry readings directly related to or inspired by the central book. Submit Your Event Here >

Into the Beautiful North 
by Luis Alberto Urrea

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. “No one writes more tragically or intimately about border culture than this son of a Mexican father and Anglo mother,” journalist Bill Moyers said of Luis Alberto Urrea, author of 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. 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.

BIG READ: Un Dia DE Pasaporte / A Passport Day

Junta For Progressive Action

The US Postal Service will process passport applications at Junta for Progressive Action. Please join us!

Sat, March 18, 2017, 11:00am  Details
3 hrs

BIG READ: "Who Are You? Who Am I?"

New Haven Free Public Library Fair Haven Branch

Explore our cultures through tradition, symbols, crafts and stories for families!

Sat, April 1, 2017, 11:00am  Details
1 hr

BIG READ: for Young Minds and Family Learning

New Haven Free Public Library Ives Branch

The Young Minds and Family Learning Department will incorporate the themes of Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberta Urrea into our 3pm Saturday Programs during the months of April-June. Programs will vary from bilingual story-times to art programs.

April 1 - June 24, 2017  Details
1 hr

BIG READ: Celebrating Frida Kahlo

New Haven Free Public Library Wilson Branch

Learn about Mexican artist Frida Kahlo through stories, her artwork, and a few Frida-friendly crafts!

Tue, April 18, 2017, 4:00pm  Details
1 hr

BIG READ: A Three Family Experience

New Haven Free Public Library Stetson Branch

Featuring local residents from Greater New Haven to present from Haitian, African, and Spanish speaking communities. Also, a short documentary film will be featured and an activity will for the kids.

April 22 - June 24, 2017  Details
1 hr

BIG READ: Bookworms! A monthly reading club for children ages 5-7

New Haven Free Public Library Mitchell Branch

Come read aloud, discuss a book and make a craft related to the Big Read themes of immigration and migration. Registration is not required for this free program.

April 24 - June 19, 2017  Details
1 hr

BIG READ: Film & Discussion: "The Other Side of Immigration"

New Haven Free Public Library Fair Haven Branch

Join us for this 2010 documentary film directed by Roy Germano that explores why so many people leave the Mexican countryside to travel to work in the U.S., and what happens to the families and communities they leave behind. Discussion to follow.

Sat, April 29, 2017, 1:00pm  Details
2 hrs

BIG READ: Hispanic Culture Day

New Haven Free Public Library Fair Haven Branch

Stay and Play for children 4 and younger and their caregivers. We'll read Spanish picture books with Latino cultural themes in English and Spanish.

Tue, May 2, 2017, 10:30pm  Details
1 hr

The BIG READ Block Party @ Junta

Join us for the 2017 Big Read Kick-Off at Junta, in celebration of Latino culture—come eat, drink, dance, listen to music, and grab your free copy of “Into the Beautiful North” while supplies last!

Fri, May 5, 2017, 5:00pm  Details
2 hrs

BIG READ: Youth Challenge Story Gathering

Baobab Tree Studios - New Haven Story Project

Come under the Baobab tree and share your stories of im/migration. We invite participants and friends of the Big Read Youth Challenge to come celebrate the completion of their projects and to share a story. The New Haven Story Project will have stations set up to record your tales.
**Light meal provided**

Fri, May 12, 2017, 5:00pm  Details
1 hr

BIG READ: Dinner & Dialogue: Im/migration

New Haven Free Public Library Ives Branch

Citywide Youth Coalition, Junta’s Youth in Action and Arts & Ideas Fellowship students join forces to lead a discussion around immigration, migration, and New Haven as a sanctuary city. Winners of the youth creative challenge will also be announced. Come and join the conversation!

Thu, May 25, 2017, 5:30pm  Details
2 hrs

BIG READ: Film & Discussion: Beyond Borders: The Debate Over Human Migration

New Haven Free Public Library Wilson Branch

Join us for this 2007 documentary that explores issues of legal and illegal immigration traveling across the U.S. and beyond to give voices to those on the front-line of this issue. The film asks: Is migration a basic human right? Discussion to follow.

Tue, May 30, 2017, 1:00pm  Details
2 hrs

BIG READ: Film & Discussion: "The Magnificent Seven"

New Haven Free Public Library Ives Branch

Join us for this 1960 American Western film modeled on Akira Kurosawa's 1954 Japanese film Seven Samurai. This very film is the one that inspired 19-year-old Nayeli, the main character of Into The Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea. Discussion to follow.

Thu, June 1, 2017, 6:00pm  Details
2 hrs

Fair Haven Pop-Up Festival

Diversity & Unity

Enjoy the rich multicultural cuisine, music, dance, and activities from our neighborhood!

Sat, June 3, 2017, 2:00pm  Details
4 hrs 30 min

BIG READ: Family Movie: "An American Tail"

New Haven Free Public Library Fair Haven Branch

See this classic film about a mouse who emigrates from Russia to the US and his struggles to adjust and find his family.

Sat, June 10, 2017, 3:00pm  Details
2 hrs

Mariachi Mexico Antiguo

An unforgettable musical adventure through Mexico!

Tue, June 13, 2017, 6:00pm  Details
1 hr

The Grand Avenue Gastronomy Tour

With Lee Cruz

Drink, eat, and tour local history on the second Grand Avenue Gastronomy Tour!

June 17 - 24, 2017  Details
3 hrs

TROKER & Fulaso

Join us on the Green at 6pm for New Haven Dances! The City's Largest Dance Lesson


Six musicians from all over Mexico, with different influences but the same goal of creating mesmerizing rhythms and presenting unrepeatable live experiences, Troker’s sound careens between the sublime and the dangerous. Metal riffage merges with powerhouse funk drumming and DJ scratching, and melodic horn lines are pulled from jazz and the mariachi traditions of the band’s homeland. From SXSW to the Glastonbury Festival, the band has toured around the world creating music that excites the audiences’ senses, but more importantly, music that inspires the soul.


Fulaso’s FUnky LAtin SOul sound creates a soul-affirming, dance floor-burning party. Their music emanates from New York City and is rooted in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Colombia, mixing the hottest boogaloo classic arrangements with bumpin' neo-soul originals. The band blends traditional music with sixties soul and funk grooves to create a powerful new sound. Headed by an unstoppably soulful...

Sat, June 17, 2017, 6:00pm  Details
2 hrs

Tere Luna & Val Ramos Duo

Featuring songs and colorful folkloric dances of México, romantic Bolero songs, and Spanish "rumba Flamenca."

Mon, June 19, 2017, 7:15pm  Details
1 hr

BIG READ: Monarch Butterfly Migration

New Haven Free Public Library Wilson Branch

Kids in grades K through 5 are invited to learn about the fantastic journey of the beautiful Monarch Butterfly. We will follow it up by making beautiful butterflies for you to take home.

Tue, June 20, 2017, 4:00pm  Details
1 hr

Citizenship: An Exploration

Who has it, who grants it, and why?

Tue, June 20, 2017, 5:30pm  Details
1 hr 30 min

We Are Citizens

Theatre of the Oppressed NYC

We Are Citizens is the culmination of a three-day intensive New Haven residency with Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, a company whose mission is to partner with communities facing discrimination to inspire transformative action through theatre.

June 21, 2017  Details
1 hr 30 min

Ideas on Foot- Wooster Square: The Immigrant Experience

The historic buildings of Wooster Square tell stories of the diverse groups that settled in this neighborhood.

Wed, June 21, 2017, 5:30pm  Details
1 hr 30 min