The Big Read

Our book for 2016 is A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K LeGuin! Events start September 1 and go to October 31. Check out our calendar of events below!

A program of the National Endowment for the Arts, The NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Managed by Arts Midwest, this initiative offers grants to support innovative community
reading programs designed around a single book.


wizard of earthsea book cover
NEABigRead-Color-with partner names

NEA Big Read

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin

Calendar of Events

September & October 2016

(Click here for a PDF printable version)



Help us launch this year’s Big Read with a Fantastic Kickoff!

NEA Big Read Kickoff with Big Brothers & Big Sisters
Thursday, September 1 from 5:30-7:30 PM
Lobby and Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Join the Library and Big Brothers Big Sisters in launching NEA Big Read this year! With a light dinner, make-a-map, and games we’ll celebrate the theme of awesome mentors both in A Wizard of Earthsea and in real life. Donations of board games are encouraged.

All of September and October: Make n’ take crafts, make BIG READ posters, bookmark making & exhibit PLUS:

Book Bingo!

(Download your Bingo sheet by clicking on the "Book Bingo" title/link above)

How does Book Bingo work?
Read fabulous books this season and you can win prizes! Fill in a Bingo Card with titles of the books you’ve read and/or a Library program you’ve attended, and drop it off or mail in to the Lewis & Clark Library. Only one entry per person, please. Staff are not eligible to play.

Book Bingo Dates:
We start September 1 and all submissions must be in by 5 PM Monday, October 31, 2016. So pick up or download your Bingo Card today!

What can I win and how?
Bingo: Complete a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line and you will be entered in the drawing for our grand prize– a Kindle Fire courtesy of the Lewis & Clark Library Foundation. Drop off your Bingo Card at any Lewis & Clark Library Branch or mail it in to 120 S Last Chance Gulch, Helena, MT 59601.

Questions? Call us!
Helena: 406-447-1690


Helena Knitting Group
Wednesdays from 1-3 PM September 7-October 26
Small Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Join in for conversation and weave your own fiber arts spells! Patterns for crochet and knit fantasy-based ideas will be available. Bring your own supplies and experience is needed.

Bonus Round at Tuesday Trivia at Miller’s Crossing
Every Tuesday in October from 7:30-9:30 PM
Miller’s Crossing Bar & Grill
Test your knowledge about "A Wizard of Earthsea" at Trivia at Miller's. Books provided in September, the rounds start in October at Miller’s.

Game Night
Tuesdays (except September 13) from 6-8 PM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Play fantasy card games, learn about Dungeons & Dragons, enjoy classic board and card games with friends and family. Co-sponsored by White Knight Toys & Hobbies.

NEA Big Read Activities for All Ages

Magical Movies @ the Library: Prestige (2006) Rated PG 13
Friday, September 9 at 6:30 PM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Enjoy snacks and a free PG 13 movie! Call 447-1690 for more information.

Geocache Quest
Saturday, September 10 starting at 11 AM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Enjoy a journey guided by coordinates and clues from A Wizard of Earthsea. The event will start with a tutorial in the Large Meeting Room at 11 AM. When you’ve completed your quest, return to the Small Meeting Room at the Library.

Art + Space + Time
Sunday, September 11 from 1-4 PM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Here’s your chance to show the world how A Wizard of Earthsea affected you. Work on your masterpiece in an open space with big tables waiting for you to use! Collage and scrapbook supplies will be available. BYO other materials. Fabric art, paintings, drawings, 3D art...we welcome whatever best expresses your vision of this fantasy classic.

ComiCon @ the Holter Museum of Art
Saturday, September 24 from 10 AM-2 PM
Holter Museum of Art (downtown Helena and the Lewis & Clark Library for the scavenger hunt)Find your way through Helena’s downtown with a scavenger hunt between the Library and the Holter! For more information on the ComiCon, visit www.holtermuseum.org or call 442-6400.

Meeting of the Minds Society: Ursula K Le Guin on YouTube & NEABigRead.org
Friday, September 30 at 10:30 AM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Watch & listen to audio & video about Ursula K Le Guin and discuss our NEA Big Read author. Coffee and refreshments provided.

Make Your Own Magical Book
Saturday, October 1 from 1-3 PM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Spells & true names figure prominently in A Wizard of Earthsea. Make your own book and fill it with your own magical ideas!

Art + Space + Time
Sundays, October 2, 9 & 16 from 11 AM-2 PM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Here’s your chance to show the world how A Wizard of Earthsea affected you. Work on your masterpiece in an open space with big tables waiting for you to use! Collage and scrapbook supplies will be available. BYO other materials. The Library will exhibit submitted artwork during the month of October. Fabric art, paintings, drawings, 3D art...we welcome whatever best expresses your vision of this fantasy classic.

Magical Movies @ the Library: Now You See Me (2013) Rated PG 13
Friday, October 14 at 6:30 PM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Enjoy snacks and a free PG 13 movie! Call 447-1690 for more information.

Helena Teens World Premiere Screening
Sunday, October 23 at 1 PM
Myrna Loy Center
Watch a great short film made by Helena teens! The Roxy Film Academy from Missoula will teach teens how to make a movie. The World Premiere will be followed by a reception in the lobby.

Morning Minds Society:  Book to Book Trailers to Movies
Friday, October 28 at 10:30 AM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Watch a couple book trailers and then storyboard your own! If your life was a movie who would play you?

NEA Big Read Activities for Kids

Lego® Club
Monday, September 12 from 3-4 PM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Build and celebrate the NEA Big Read with creative creature making fun! For grades 3-5.

Use-eum at the Holter Museum of Art
Saturday, September 17 from 10:30-11:45 AM
Holter Museum of Art
For kids age 3-7 with an accompanying adult. Call 442-6400 to register. Get a copy of our “Little Read” book Catwings by Ursula K Le Guin. Make art relating to the book. About Catwings: Mrs. Jane Tabby can't explain why her four precious kittens were born with wings, but she's grateful that they are able to use their flying skills to soar away from the dangerous city slums where they were born. However, once the kittens escape the big city, they learn that country life can be just as difficult! Co-sponsored by the Lewis & Clark Library.

Saturday Storytime & Craft
Saturday, September 24 from 10:30-11:30 AM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Enjoy a Saturday morning Storytime, dragon craft and coloring pages!

Fantasy Reads Book Jam
Monday, September 26 from 3-4 PM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Like a fantasy book? Read it and come talk about it! For kids in grades 3-5.

Sunday Matinee! Pete’s Dragon (1977) Rated G
Sunday, October 2 starting at 2:30 PM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch

Canvas & Cocoa at the Holter Museum of Art
Saturday, October 8 from 10 AM-12 PM
At the Holter Museum of Art
For ages 8 and up. Paint a picture inspired by our “Little Read” Catwings by Ursula K Le Guin. Get a free copy of the book for inspiration! Call 442-6400 to register.

Sunday Matinee! Aladdin (1992) Rated G
Sunday, October 9 starting at 2:30 PM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch

Kids Fall Fest
Saturday, October 15 from 10 AM-2 PM
Pioneer Park behind the Library & Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Celebrate autumn in Downtown Helena with the Kids Fall Fest, a free family-friendly event. Join Downtown Helena, Inc., the Helena Business Improvement District and many local groups and businesses as they bring you fun activities. Check out our fantasy games and crafts in the Large Meeting Room too!

Sunday Matinee! The Sword in the Stone (1963) Rated G
Sunday, October 16 starting at 2:30 PM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch

Lego® Club
Monday, October 17 from 3-4 PM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Build a dragon and celebrate the NEA Big Read with creative creature making fun!

Saturday Storytime & Craft
Saturday, October 29 from 10:30-11:30 AM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Library staff invite you to enjoy a Saturday morning Storytime and fun dragon craft and coloring pages!

Sunday Matinee! Hercules (1997) Rated G
Sunday, October 30 at 2:30 PM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch

Little Tykes Trick or Treat
Monday, October 31 from 11 AM-4 PM
Dress up in your favorite costumes and join Downtown Helena, Inc. and the Helena Business Improvement District for the Little Tykes Trick or Treat on Halloween throughout Downtown Helena.
Local daycare centers, pre-schools, kindergartens, families and friends are invited to bring their kids, 5th grade and younger, downtown for an exciting afternoon of trick or treating along the most historic mile in Montana.       

NEA Big Read Activities for Teens in Helena

Fantastic Book Tasting
Wednesday, September 28, 7-8 PM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Does the sheer variety of bookish fantasy overwhelm you? Are you a die-hard fantasy reader looking to branch out? Find something for everyone at our Book Tasting. You'll sample some delicious reads from across the fantasy genre while nibbling tasty snacks from some of the most popular fantastic worlds.

First Saturday Movie Night (for teens only)
Saturday, October 1 from 7-9:30 PM
Lewis & Clark Library Helena BranchGames, Tales from Earthsea and snacks. For teens in grades 6-12. Call 447-1690 for more information.

Teen Book Group discusses A Wizard of Earthsea
Tuesday, October 4 at 6:30 PM
Mezzanine Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Teens in grades 6-12. Read and talk about Ged and his quest in Earthsea.

Teen Book Discussion & Climb
Wednesday, October 5 at 6:30 PM
At Stonetree Climbing Center
Check out Stonetree and talk about A Wizard of Earthsea. Free climbing afterwards. Call 447-1690 ext 132 to sign up and for more information.

2nd Annual Fandom Tea Party
October 28 from 7-8:30 PM
Geek out and get your Ged on! Come dressed as your favorite character from your favorite fandom. food, games, and prizes. We'll also create fantastic works. For teens in grades 6-12.

NEA Big Read Lectures

Young Adult Literature Panel Discussion
Tuesday, September 13 at 7 PM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Teen services Librarian Heather Dickerson will lead a panel discussion highlighting the role stories play in the lives of teen readers. We will hear from teen readers, teachers, and librarians with opportunities for audience questions.

Lewis & Clark Library Foundation After-Hours Reception
Friday, October 7 from 6:15-7:30 PM
Mezzanine, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
The Lewis & Clark Library Foundation invites the public to a reception with a no-host bar and light refreshments celebrating the NEA Big Read. Then stimulate your mind with a fascinating talk with Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Michael Dirda as he discusses one of the most beloved works of modern American literature, A Wizard of Earthsea.

Keynote Speaker Michael Dirda

Friday, October 7 at 7:30 PM
Mezzanine, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
In this Big Read presentation, “Embracing The Dark Side: An Introduction to Ursula K. Le Guin's Classic Fantasy, A Wizard of Earthsea”, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Michael Dirda will discuss one of the most beloved works of modern American literature, situating Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea in the history of 20th-century fantasy, laying out its major themes, and touching on the book's sequels and influence. A discussion period will follow the talk, and Mr. Dirda encourages questions and comments from the audience.

Naturopathy with Dr Liz Cavin
Wednesday, October 19 at 6:30 PM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
In A Wizard of Earthsea, Ged learns about herbal magic. Now it’s your turn to learn about the power of herbs and naturopathic medicine with Dr Liz Cavin with a lecture and hands on activity. Dr Cavin obtained her doctorate medical degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine (NCNM) in 2006.  She studied botanical medicine with Dr. Tiearona LowDog, MD and Paul Bergner master herbalist. 

Taoist philosophy with Dr Eric Hall
Thursday, October 20 at 7 PM
Large Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
"A Wizard of Earthsea is full of Taoist imagery. The whole idea of a vital balance which is never still, which is not at rest. The wise wizards are working for a kind of balance. Young Ged gets out of balance. He's got to fix it or else it'll kill him." -Ursula K Le Guin. Carroll College's Dr Eric Hall will introduce Taoist philosophy as it relates to other ancient Chinese philosophies and its relevance to our lives.


"To Hell With It": Ursula K Le Guin's Place in the Literary Scene
Tuesday, October 23 at 7 PM
at Helena College Lecture Hall, Room 125
At Helena College. As reported in a recent New York Times article, Le Guin often says “What the hell,” and refuses to be shoved off the literary scene. This lecture explores the 86-year-old author’s prolific publishing life, focusing especially on her role as a woman and the societal categorization of science-fiction / fantasy writers.


“Montana Place Names from Alzada to Zortman” with Brian Shovers
Thursday, October 27 at 6:30 PM
At Montana Historical Society
Experience the power of naming something as well as discovering the names of already-named-before-you-got-there places just like Ged in "The Wizard of Earthsea." Brian Shovers, co-author of "Montana Place Names from Alzada to Zortman" will talk about the book and the fascinating process of naming everything from streets to buttes to towns.

NEA Big Read Writers Workshop

World Building Writing Workshop
Saturday, October 8 from 10 AM-3 PM
Helena College
Taught by Brian Buckbee, co-founder of the 406 Writers’ Workshop and English Instructor at University of Montana. This workshop will explore how fiction writers of any genre--from literary to science fiction--can use fantastical elements to get readers to escape our world, question our world and see our world. Registration required. Call 447-1690 to sign up. Co-Sponsored by the Lewis & Clark Library.

NEA Big Read Book Discussions

Book Discussion about Education in A Wizard of Earthsea
Tuesday, September 20 at 10 AM
Small Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
“Education is a central issue…Ged gets one type of education from the wizard Ogion and another from the wizard school (Roke), and then Ged gets another sort of education from hunting down his shadow. We might say that one of the most important elements of Ged's education is that it teaches him his place in the universe, and the consequences of his choices.” (from www.schmoop.com) Let’s talk about it!

Book Discussion about the Misuse of Power in A Wizard of Earthsea
Wednesday, September 28 at 12 PM
At Helena College
Explore this hot topic (it’s an election year!) as it relates to the fantastic realm of this story.

Book Discussion on Favorite Coming-of-Age Stories, including A Wizard of Earthsea
September 29 at 12 PM
At the Capitol, room 137
Bring a lunch and share your favorite coming-of-age novel or movie and why you remember it so vividly.

Book Discussion about the characters in A Wizard of Earthsea
Saturday, October 1 at 11 AM
Small Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Who are your favorite characters? Who could have been better? Who was the worst? Why? Come share your opinions and ideas!

Book Discussion on the Theme of Pride & Hubris in A Wizard of Earthsea
Wednesday, October 5 at 12 PM
At First Interstate Bank at the end of Broadway by the Hospital
Why does “pride go before a fall”? Explore the landscape between pride and humility. Bring your own lunch. Co-sponsored by the Lewis & Clark Library and First Interstate Bank.

Conquering Our Dragons Book Discussion of A Wizard of Earthsea
Thursday, October 13 at 3 PM
HUB Coffee
Consider the feats of courage you’ve survived and thrived with and share them with others! Let’s talk about how the fantasy genre offers ways to mentally and emotionally explore fears and uncomfortable topics which then may give us bravery to challenge them in real life.

Architecture in A Wizard of Earthsea
Monday, October 17 at 12 PM
Original Governor’s Mansion 
Building is a huge theme in fantasy. Worlds, species, characters, houses and castles…it’s all up for grabs! Come talk about the architecture of a good story. Bring your own lunch and come around to the back door that leads to the basement.

Book Discussion on the Supernatural in A Wizard of Earthsea
Monday, October 17 at 6 PM
Small Meeting Room, Lewis & Clark Library Helena Branch
Wizards and spells and shadows oh my! Talk about your take on the supernatural in A Wizard of Earthsea.

Book Discussion at Triple Divide Spirits
Monday, October 24 at 6:30 PM
Triple Divide Spirits
Discuss your favorite mixes of adult beverages and the wizarding medicinals of Earthsea. Must be 21. Free and open to the public.

“Finding Your Power” Book Discussion at the Holter Museum of Art
Tuesday, October 25 at 7 PM
Explore ways to find your own power in real life and compare it to Ged’s experiences in A Wizard of Earthsea.

Book Discussion on the Power of Names & Naming People, Places and Things
Thursday, October 27 at 5 PM
At Montana Historical Society
One of the most powerful experiences in A Wizard of Earthsea is the power of learning the true names of things. Once you learn a thing’s true name, you have power over it. Explore this theme as it plays out in the fantasy genre and then stay for the lecture “Montana Place Names from Alzada to Zortman” with Brian Shovers at 6:30 PM.

NEA Big Read Events at the Lewis & Clark Library Branches

Lincoln:

Call 406-362-4300 for more information.

Lincoln Branch discusses A Wizard of Earthsea
Tuesday, October 11 at 7 PM

Augusta:

Call 406-562-3348 for more information.

Make Dragon Eyes and Write in Runes
Wednesday, October 5 at 4 PM
For the after-school kids program. 

Book Discussion at the Augusta Branch Library
Tuesday, October 25 at 5 PM

Make Dragon Eyes & Write in Runes in Augusta
Wednesday, October 12 at 6 PM
Craft a dragon's eye and learn your true name in runes at the Augusta Branch of the Lewis & Clark Library. Call 406-562-3348 for more information. October 12 event for teens.

East Helena:

Call 227-5750 for more information.

East Helena Branch Reading Circle discusses A Wizard of Earthsea
Friday, October 21 at 2 PM
Lewis & Clark Library East Helena Branch

East Helena Events for Teens:

NEA Big Read Kickoff Movie in East Helena
Thursday, September 1 from 3:45 PM-5 PM
Launch this year’s Big Read with a free movie for teens! Call 227-5750 for details.

Make Edible Wands
Thursday, September 8 from 3:45-5 PM
For teens only. Call 227-5750 for more information.

Teens Make Parchment Paper
Thursday, September 15 from 3:45-5 PM
Create your own parchment paper to be used later this month! The paper stays at the library to dry. Call 227-5750 for details.

Write with Runes on Parchment Paper
Thursday, September 22 from 3:45-5 PM
For teens only! Call 227-5750 for more information.

East Helena Branch Teen Book Group discusses A Wizard of Earthsea
Thursday, September 29 at 3:45 PM
Teens in grades 6-12. Read and talk about Ged and his quest in Earthsea. Call 227-5750 for more information.

Wizard Gaming Day
Thursday, October 6 from 3:45-5 PM
For teens only. Call 227-575 for details.

Make Dragon Eyes
Thursday, October 13 from 3:45-5 PM
For teens only! Call 227-5750 for more information.

Make Ming China Plates
Thursday, October 20 from 3:45-5 PM
For teens only. Call 227-5750 for more information.

Make a Dragon Paper Mask
Thursday, October 27 from 3:45-5 PM
For teens only. Call 227-5750 for more information.

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

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Read the Library's Press Release about our 10th Big Read grant here.


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