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Big Read
00000179-cdc6-d978-adfd-cfc6d7a40000The National Endowment for the Arts' "Big Read" looks to encourage literacy by holding community events around the country celebrating a single book each year. This year's book selection is Into the Beautiful North" by Luis Alberto Urrea, which follows a nineteen-year-old woman who travels to the United States to bring back seven men--including her father--to help defend her Mexican village from danger.Of course, the stories of people who come to this country are wide and varied, and many of those stories live right here in Wichita. Over the next few weeks, we'll hear some of those stories. Follow them below.-The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and bring the transformative power of literature into the lives of citizens. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment.

Memoir Of Refugee Family Selected For 10th Wichita Big Read


Big Read Wichita has announced this year’s book.

For its 10th year, Big Read Wichita has selected "The Late Homecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir,” by Kao Kalia Yang. It's the first time the program has chosen a work of nonfiction.

Julie Sherwood, program and outreach manager with the Wichita Public Library, a partner in the Big Read, said at announcement Thursday that the book will resonate with many people in Wichita.

Credit Shee Yang via neabigread.org

“It's a great book that I think people will really enjoy about a refugee coming to the U.S. and basically telling the story about her life and the people," Sherwood said. "And I think we have a lot of refugees here in Wichita that might also be able to tell their stories as well.”

Yang has called the book a "love letter" to her grandmother, who kept the family together on their escape from Laos to Thailand and finally, to Minnesota. The author spoke to the National Endowment for the Arts podcast last year about her experience in a refugee camp in Thailand, and her sense of home while she was there.

"I used to ask all the adults where home was, because they kept on telling me the Ban Vinai refugee camp wasn't my home," Yang said. "And for my grandma and my dad and my mom and my aunts and uncles, home was some story in Laos, home was some future imagined in America."

Big Read Wichita is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Wichita received one of 75 national Big Read awards this year.

The program runs from Oct. 1 through Nov. 15 and will include a variety of cultural events, including a planned visit from the author.

Free copies of the book will be handed out at a kickoff party on Sept. 23 at the Wichita Art Museum.


Follow Nadya Faulx on Twitter @NadyaFaulx.

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