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Pennington Public Library Receives NEA 'Big Read" Grant

October 8, 2021—PENNINGTON, NJ—Pennington Public Library is pleased to announce it is one of 61 organizations nationwide selected to receive a 2021-2022 NEA Big Read grant, its second award from the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.   Beginning in February, 2022, the Library will present six weeks of programming that focuses on Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do, a graphic memoir about her life as one of the Vietnamese “Boat People.” The NEA Big Read grant helps broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.


“We are thrilled to have been awarded our second NEA Big Read grant,” said Library Director Kim T. Ha.  “Our previous award was for “True Grit” in 2019, and it was wonderful to see our community come together over the course of a month for films, book discussions, culinary activities, and even a family hoedown.”  She is equally excited about this year’s selected book. “Bui’s themes of immigration, family history, assimilation, and identity are universal.  Plus it’s a graphic memoir, so we’ll have a lot of fun exploring that genre.  We’ll even be providing both kids and adults with sessions where they can create their own comics,” Ha said.


“The opportunity to partner with area organizations is one of the best parts of the Big Read,” said Kathleen Nash, a volunteer who helped lead the 2019 programming.  “We’ll once again collaborate with the Hopewell Valley Historical Society, Hopewell Museum, the Hopewell Valley School District, The Pennington School, Hopewell Valley Arts Council, the Friends of Pennington Library, and other groups, as we celebrate the amazing story of one family’s experience as Vietnamese ‘Boat People.’”


The library will soon invite the entire community to participate in the special kick-off event that will celebrate the many ways that “The Immigrant Experience Connects Us All.”  Scheduled for the evening of February 25 at St. Matthew’s Church, this multicultural fair will feature the stories, cultures, food, art, and artifacts of our many diverse backgrounds. 


For more information about Pennington Public Library, including how to become a part of the NEA Big Read and the multicultural fair, go to www.penningtonlibrary.org.



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