The Big Read Blog (Archive)


May 13, 2009
Cleveland, OH

Since joining The Big Read as one of the first ten organizations to receive a grant in 2006, Fresno County Library has become a pro at bringing celebrated literary classics to life through diverse, entertaining activities that encourage folks to read, discuss, then repeat steps one and two. Adult Services Manager Jeanne Johnson caught us up on Fresno?s Big Read of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which took place throughout the central California county this March and April.

?Our kick-off event was a 24-hour read-a-thon at the Sweet River Grill restaurant. We also hosted a Tom Sawyer family fair day at the Coke Hallowell River Center and staged the play Tom, Huck, and Mark Twain at the Fresno Veteran?s Auditorium. We had a range of keynote sessions including lectures on Mark Twain by Victor Fischer and Gregg Camfield, a presentation by Sid Fleischman on his biography for children, The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West, and An Evening with Mark Twain by James Schlievert, a local actor. The more than 150 programs also included book discussions, film screenings, music programs, a presentation on caves, a cooking demonstration, children?s craft and story programs, and a multi-media presentation on Mark Twain?s connection to Fresno County by local historian William Secrest, Jr. ?

At the Tom Sawyer fair, Ebony Verses, a local storytelling group, held the audience spellbound with tales from the days of the Underground Railroad.

Rob Lippert and Andrew Golden gave life to Twain?s literary rapscallions, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, in Fresno County Library's production of Tom, Huck, and Mark Twain.

The Tom Sawyer Fair featured traditional crafts (in traditional dress!) such as this weaving demonstration by the County Weaver Association.

The library distributed more than 3,000 copies of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to Fresno County teachers. Alan Langstraat's sixth grade class at Jackson School in Selma, California, reported that they loved reading the novel!

All photos courtesy of Fresno County Library