Acclaimed children’s author Carmen Agra Deedy will read and discuss her award-winning picture book “The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!,” which is being featured during this year’s Hope College-organized Little Read Lakeshore, on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 11 a.m. at Herrick District Library.
The public is invited. Admission is free.
“The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!” centers on the happy-but-noisy fictional village of La Paz, whose residents believe that less noise will make things even better. Soon, though, the mayor they’ve elected outlaws singing, an edict that the rooster ignores.
Illustrated by Eugene Yelchin, “The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!” was named a best picture book of 2017 by Kirkus Reviews, and was also a 2018-19 Georgia Children’s Book Award nominee.
Deedy is a New York Times bestselling author whose books — which include multiple children’s books — have received numerous awards and honors. She has been writing and traveling around the world telling stories for more than 20 years and has performed in many prestigious venues, but notes that children are her favorite audience.
Born in Havana, Cuba, she came to the U.S. as a refugee in 1964 and grew up in Decatur, Georgia, where she continues to live. She began writing as a young mother and storyteller whose NPR commentaries on All Things Considered were collected and released under the title “Growing Up Cuban in Decatur, Georgia.” Her several books for children include “The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale,” “14 Cows for America,” “Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale,” “The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark,” “The Library Dragon,” “The Secret of Old Zeb,” “Agatha’s Feather Bed: Not Just Another Wild Goose Story” and “The Last Dance.”
An ardent supporter of libraries, she was the 2008 National Spokesperson for School Library Media Month (AASL).
The Little Read Lakeshore is running alongside this year’s NEA Big Read Lakeshore, which had its formal kick-off on Monday, Oct. 28, and is continuing through Dec. 3. The two programs are visiting the Caribbean and specifically the Dominican Republic of the late 1950s and early 1960s to explore the roles of story, memory, revolution and obedience. The NEA Big Read Lakeshore includes “In the Time of the Butterflies” by Julia Alvarez, a historical novel of courage, love and the human cost of political oppression, and the middle-grade book “Before We Were Free,” also by Alvarez.
“We wanted to make sure that our community-wide reading program included our young readers as well as older readers,” said Dr. Deborah Van Duinen, who is founding director of the programs as well as an associate professor of English education at Hope.
“We hope that all of our Lakeshore readers read our Little Read book. Just because it’s a children's picture book doesn't mean that it’s only for children,” she said. “The themes in ‘The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!’ are timely and relevant for all of us.”
Together, the two community-wide programs are featuring more than 60 events across the area for people of all ages. In addition to Deedy’s presentation on Nov. 9, highlights across the four-plus weeks include a keynote address at Hope by Julia Alvarez on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m. in the Concert Hall of the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts, film screenings, art exhibitions, a themed dinner, activity-events for children and multiple book discussions throughout the area that are open to the public. Hope College’s Strike Time Dance Company, led by Nicole Flinn, associate professor of dance, created a piece based on “The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!” and will be doing 18 performances in participating Little Read schools and libraries during this next month.
In support of this year’s programming, Hope has received grants from both the nationwide NEA Big Read, which is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, and the statewide Michigan Humanities, with additional funding coming from area partners and through local donations.
The NEA Big Read Lakeshore began by Van Duinen in 2014, with the Little Read Lakeshore added in 2017. Across the past six years, the programs have engaged an estimated 38,000 people, including thousands of students from pre-school through college-age.
Hope is one of 78 nonprofit organizations to have received a grant to host an NEA Big Read project between September 2019 and June 2020. The Little Read Lakeshore at Hope is one of 16 programs in the state thttps://www.michiganhumanities.org/by-county-spring-2019-humanities-grant-awards/o have received support from Michigan Humanities in its spring 2019 deadline cycle.
The NEA Big Read Lakeshore has received NEA Big Read support during each of the local program’s six years, for a total of $91,500. The Michigan Humanities support is new this year. Each of this year’s two grants is for $15,000.
The complete schedules for both the NEA Big Read Lakeshore and Little Read Lakeshore are available at hope.edu/bigread. More about the books, including book-discussion material, merchandise to purchase and information on how to get involved are also available on the website.
Herrick District Library is located at 300 S. River Ave., between 12th and 13th streets.