The Big Read Blog (Archive)

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Dr. Michelle Martin, Augusta Baker Chair in Childhood Literacy at the University of South Carolina. Photo by Kimberly Truett, University of South Carolina For more than 50 years, storyteller and librarian Augusta Baker was one of the leading experts of children's literature in the United States,...
Cover of Their Eyes Were Watching God. Image courtesy of Harper Perennial Modern Classics Oftentimes, books we read in childhood and adolescence become touchstones throughout our lives. Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God is undoubtedly one such book for many people. In this 1937...
Zaira James performs at the Brooklyn Open. James is a member of the Urban Word's Word Wide Youth Leadership Board. Photo by Brenda Williams-Butts "I love the two-way aspect of [The Big Read]. We give and we get, and the public gives and gets from it, too." --- Brenda Williams-Butts One of the...
Photo of Zora Neale Hurston by Carl Van Vechten, Library of Congress When Their Eyes Were Watching God was published 75 years ago, it was far from successful---critically or otherwise. In fact, it was out of print for almost 30 years. But since its reissue in 1978, Zora Neale Hurston's masterwork...
Paul Laurence Dunbar. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons In honor of Black History Month, we're turning to some archival audio of poet Rita Dove reading Paul Laurence Dunbar, who is widely acknowledged as one of the first important African-American poets in American literature. "We Wear the Mask...
Public domain image of Zora Neale Hurston from the Library of Congress. Zora Neale Hurston: Anthropologist. Storyteller. Playwright. Writer Alice Walker notes on this Big Read audio guide that Hurston, in Their Eyes Were Watching God, "takes a black community, because that’s what she grew up in,...
Washington, DC " Zora Plaque in Eatonville " by mcclaurin solutions via flickr While writing dialogue can be tricky business, scripting dialect is an art form all its own. At its worst, it can seem stilted and condescending. At its best, it can read like poetry, carrying a story along on the unique...
Camden, NJ Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts held professional development workshops for teachers as part of their Big Read. Photo courtesy of Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts When the Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts (RCCA) held its first Big Read in 2010, Noreen Scott Garrity, RCCA?s...
Washington, DC Portrait of Zora Neale Hurston, 1938, by Carl van Vechten. From Library of Congress collection Portrait of Zora Neale Hurston, 1938, by Carl van Vechten. From Library of Congress collection This week?s Art Works podcast is a conversation with Valerie Boyd, author of Wrapped in...
Washington, DC Photo of Zora Neale Hurston by Carl Van Vechten, Library of Congress In honor of Black History Month, we're paying homage to Zora Neale Hurston, whose novels remain some of the richest narratives of 20th-century black culture. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston draws upon her...

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