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Santa Barbara Reads

An American Sunrise Cover  

The Santa Barbara Public Library invites the community to read and celebrate Joy Harjo’s An American Sunrise this fall as a part of this year’s annual SB Reads program — NEA Big Read: Santa Barbara Reads. Harjo’s book of poems explores Indigenous pasts, presents, and potential futures in the US, and prompts readers to unpack the impact of America's colonial history. This series of events will engage the community with local artists, poets, and writers and will invite readers to examine the world from viewpoints other than their own.

Santa Barbara Reads 2021 is made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest and the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation.

You can find more information about the program, below, and more details about each program on our online calendar. Registration is required for all virtual events.

All Library programs and services are free and open to the public.

Special Events

Santa Barbara Reads Kick-Off and Poetry Walk
Central Library, Historic Entrance
Saturday, November 6 ⼁ 3:00 PM

Native People, Native Voices: a panel in collaboration with American Indian Health & Services
Virtual: Register here
Wednesday, November 17 ⼁ 5:30 PM

Trail Talks: The Beauty of Basketry and Tending the Land by Tima Link Lotah
Virtual: Register here
Thursday, November 18 ⼁ 5:30 PM

What Can We Learn From Native Plants? with Nicholas Hummingbird
Virtual: Register here
Tuesday, November 23 ⼁ 6:00 PM

Teen Book Club: Apple (Skin to the Core) by Eric Gansworth
Virtual: Register here
Thursday, December 2 ⼁ 4:30 PM

Chumash Stories with Alan Salazar
Alameda Park
Saturday, December 4 ⼁ 2:00 PM

An Evening with Joy Harjo
Virtual: Register here
Thursday, December 9 ⼁ 6:00 PM

An American Sunrise Book Discussions 

Montecito Poetry Club
Montecito Library
Thursday, November 18 ⼁ 2:00 PM

Indy Book Club
Municipal Winemakers
Wednesday, December 1 ⼁ 6:00 PM

Book Discussion with Dr. Niki Sandoval
Virtual: Register here
Sunday, December 5⼁ 3:00 PM

Spanish Book Club
Virtual: Register here
Tuesday, December 7 ⼁ 4:30 PM

Book Discussion with Santa Barbara Poet Laureate Emma Trelles
Virtual: Register here
Wednesday, December 8 ⼁ 5:30 PM

SBPL Book Clubs

Fiction Book Club: The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
Tuesday, November 9 ⼁ 5:30 PM

Memoirs and Biographies Book Club: Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo
Virtual: Register here
Tuesday, November 30 ⼁ 4:30 PM

Crime Book Club: Murder on the Red River by Marcie Rendon
Virtual: Register here
Wednesday, December 1⼁ 5:00 PM

Romance Book Club: Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Virtual: Register here
Tuesday, December 7 ⼁ 5:30 PM


Storywalk® in the Park: My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gray Smith (author) and Julie Flett (illustrator)
Check our online calendar for Storywalk® dates, times, and locations.

Whose land have you lived on?

As a part of SB Reads, the Santa Barbara Public Library invites you to investigate the question "whose land have you lived on?" We encourage you to learn more about the Indigenous communities who were the original stewards of that land, and the Indigenous communities that live there now. 

For this project, we’re using the Native Land Digital Map. “Native Land Digital creates spaces where non-Indigenous people can be invited and challenged to learn more about the lands they inhabit, the history of those lands, and how to actively be part of a better future going forward together.” We hope that, after you complete this activity, you explore the resources this site has to offer and learn more about the project.

Click here to participate.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.


Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation LogoNEA for Big Reads Logo

Santa Barbara Reads Previous Selections:

2020  Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
 2019 Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
 2018  Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley - Bicentennial publication anniversary 
 2017  Station Eleven (NEA Big Read) by Emily St. John Mandel 
 2016      Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson 
 2015 Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison by Piper Kerman
 2014 The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America by Timothy Egan
 2013 Moonwalking with Einstein: the Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer
 2013 The Things They Carried (NEA Big Read) by Tim O'Brien
 2012 Moby-Duck by Donovan Hohn
 2011 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
 2010 Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario
 2009 Fahrenheit 451 (NEA Big Read) by Ray Bradbury
 2009 Ethics for the New Millennium by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
 2008 Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
 2008 The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli
 2007 Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
 2007 Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
 2007 Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change by Elizabeth Kolbert
 2006 My California: Journeys By Great Writers edited by Donna Wares
 2005 When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka
 2004 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
 2003 Life of Pi by Yann Martel
 2002 The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle


Last Updated: Dec 2, 2021
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