Big Read 2021


The Thomas Branigan Memorial Library and the Branigan Cultural Center are pleased to present the Big Read Las Cruces. In October and November, 2021 the Las Cruces community will come together to read US. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s An American Sunrise.

An American Sunrise, a book-length collection of poems, sees Harjo revisiting her ancestral homeland and tracking the violent and forced removal of those ancestors with the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The book both celebrates and mourns her ancestral legacy and offers us a lyrical portrait of contemporary Indigenous experience.

The Big Read Las Cruces is a community-wide reading event and is facilitated by the Branigan Library and the Branigan Cultural Center. The Big Read Las Cruces is made possible by a NEA grant and the NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

The Big Read will run from October 11 through November 13, 2021 and will feature a number of discussion opportunities and events. The Big Read will culminate with a reading by Joy Harjo. For more information on obtaining a free copy of the book and program information, use the links below. 

October 11 (Indigenous Peoples Day): Opening Session

Monday, October 11 @ 2pm at Albert Johnson Park 
Join us in honoring Indigenous Peoples Day and kicking off the Big Read. The Piro will offer Welcome and Friendship Dances and local storytellers will offer meaningful tales from their own cultures.  
Book Walk:
Visit Albert Johnson Park to walk and read Carole Lindstrom’s We are Water Protectors. The book walk will be installed through October 29th. 
Big Read Events Click here to see all the Big Read events.
November 13: Closing Session with Joy Harjo  Saturday, November 13th 5pm 
**PLEASE NOTE CHANGE** The keynote event has been changed from in-person to online, via Zoom. To register, click here

Big Read Tool Kit Click here for additional resources for the Big Read.

For Children and Teens Big Read resources for Children and Teens
Land Acknowledgement:  Today, in Las Cruces New Mexico, we are on the ancestral and current homelands of the Warm Springs Apache of the Chiricahua Apache Nation, the Mescalero Apache, the Piro, Manso, Tigua, Tortugas Pueblo, Suma, Jumano, Tapaxkolmeh, and numerous Indigenous Nations through time.  We are in the Chihuahua Desert below the Sierra de los Mansos (Organ Mountains) and along the Rio Grande River, the lands and waters that sustain us. We acknowledge these lands, and encourage you to learn more and support the work of their original and current caretakers.