NEA Big Read in the Falls

Into the Beautiful North | March 13 – April 17, 2021

We bring our community together to broaden our understanding of our world, our cultures, our histories, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. This year’s selection is Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea. The novel takes place in Mexico and the United States. It is a hilarious and gut-wrenching story of Nayeli, Yolo, Vampi, Tacho, and Atómiko on a journey to save the town of Tres Camarones, Mexico. Join us for programs, events, and discussions.

Explore our events and be sure to register for those in which you have interest. When you register, you will be sent additional information on how you will be able to access the program.

NEA Big Read in the Falls events are free, unless otherwise noted, and open to the public.

Free copies of the book are available at the Library, while supplies last.

For more information about any programs, call the Library at 262-532-8920 or contact us.

Follow NEA Big Read in the Falls on Facebook!

Into the Beautiful North book cover

The Book

Nineteen-year-old Nayeli works at a taco shop in her Mexican village and dreams about her father, who journeyed to the US to find work. Recently, it has dawned on her that he isn’t the only man who has left town. In fact, there are almost no men in the village — they’ve all gone north. While watching The Magnificent Seven, Nayeli decides to go north herself and recruit seven men to repopulate her hometown and protect it from the bandidos who plan on taking it over.

Filled with unforgettable characters and prose as radiant as the Sinaloan sun, Into the Beautiful North is the story of an irresistible young woman’s quest to find herself on both sides of the fence.

The Author

Alberto Luis Urrea is a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction and member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, Urrea is the critically acclaimed and best-selling author of 17 books, winning numerous awards for his poetry, fiction and essays. Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and American mother, Urrea is most recognized as a border writer, though he says, “I am more interested in bridges, not borders.”

“A master storyteller with a rock and roll heart”

An Evening with Luis Alberto Urrea

Thursday, April 15, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Virtual Presentation

Into the Beautiful North author Luis Alberto Urrea will deliver a keynote presentation followed by a Q&A. Hailed by NPR as a “master storyteller with a rock and roll heart,” Urrea is a prolific and award-winning author who draws inspirations for his novels from his binational life experiences.

The Challenge

Visit our challenge site, or download the app (IOS | Android) if you haven’t already. Then, register for the NEA Big Read in the Falls Challenge.

Earn points by participating in Big Read activities. When you earn enough points to get a ticket, you can apply your ticket to one of the drawings.

Prizes from our sponsors include:

AJ O’Brady’s gift card

Bank of Flowers gift card

Peace Yoga Studio gift Card

Pink Lemonade gift card

Other Prizes:

Shell Gas gift card

Spa and Wellness gift card

Starbucks gift card

Taco Tuesday kit and Piggly Wiggly Gift card

Don’t forget to like the NEA Big Read in the Falls Facebook page (you get points for that too even if you have already liked it!)!

The Little Read

Did you know that in addition to our community-wide celebration of Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea, this year’s NEA Big Read in the Falls includes a Little Read companion novel that’s perfect for kids and families? Our Little Read is the picture book Dreamers by Yuyi Morales.

In this dreamlike, poetic story based on the author’s personal life experiences, she and her son immigrate to the United States from Mexico and discover the transformative power of books.

If you have younger kids at home, be sure to read Dreamers. We have many copies available to be checked out, and the story will be on display through our window book walk from March 15 – April 17.

Big Read News

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the National Endowment for the Arts 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 titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, the NEA Big Read aims to inspire conversation and discovery. The main feature of the initiative is a grants program, managed by Arts Midwest, which annually supports community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection.

How was Menomonee Falls Public Library selected to participate in the NEA Big Read?

Eligible organizations apply to Arts Midwest for NEA Big Read grants and the applications are reviewed by a panel of outside experts on the basis of artistic excellence and merit. Competitive applications demonstrate strong literary programming, experience in building effective local partnerships, reaching and engaging new and diverse audiences, working with educators, involving local and state public officials, and working with media. More information on the application and guidelines are available on Arts Midwest’s website.

Which organizations in our community are participating in the NEA Big Read?

Menomonee Falls Public Library is the lead organization for the NEA Big Read in Menomonee Falls. Our NEA Big Read sponsors include Wisconsin Public Radio, Delta Hotels by Marriott, and Menomonee Falls Library Friends.

What types of events will take place during the NEA Big Read in Menomonee Falls?

We will host a variety of events from take and make crafts to book discussions, to a visit from the author himself. For a complete list of events, check out our PROGRAM GUIDE (PDF).

How are books selected for the NEA Big Read library?

Suggestions for new titles are collected from a variety of sources, including the public, NEA Big Read grantees, and past Big Read panelists. The National Endowment for the Arts narrows the list of suggestions based on criteria including diversity of genre, diversity and stature of authors, the universal appeal of themes, capacity to incite lively and deep discussion, and a focus on expanding the range of voices and stories currently represented in the NEA Big Read library. A committee of outside readers representing a range of voices (including librarians, students, teachers, writers, booksellers, and publishers) review the books and make the final recommendations. You can suggest a new NEA Big Read title at arts.gov/neabigread.

Where can I find more information about the NEA Big Read?

For information on the NEA Big Read in Menomonee Falls, please contact Librarian Leah Gentry at lgentry@menomonee-falls.org. Visit the NEA Big Read website for more information on the National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read program. The website also features information about the NEA Big Read titles, including author biographies, discussion questions, and community stories.

Big Read Partners

NEA Big Read
The Ideas Network 90.7 FM
Menomonee Falls Library Friends

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

Big Read Sponsors