NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Midwest designed to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. This year, Orange County Library System, in partnership with Valencia College, has been chosen as an award recipient for the NEA Big Read selected title The Call of the Wild by Jack London. Set during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, the novel follows Buck, a St. Bernard-Scotch Collie mix, who is ripped from his comfortable life in California and sold into service as a sled dog. To survive the harsh climate of the Canadian Yukon, Buck must embrace his wild side.
The Library will hold a month-long campaign that offers a wide range of events for all ages that pull thematically from The Call of the Wild. Readers of all ages are invited to kick things off with a virtual author Q&A with Libby Riddles, the first woman to become an Iditarod champion. Library staff will host book discussions and provide a free copy of The Call of the Wild for attendees to keep. Attend a virtual keynote session featuring Les Stroud, creator of the survival TV genre and world explorer, where he tells of his experiences in the wild and shares his new children’s book. Mayor Buddy’s Book Club will be hosting a virtual author Q&A session with Peter Brown, author of the NEA Big Read selected companion title, Wild Robot. You can find out more information about these events and others by visiting ocls.info/bigread.
While the Library is honored to participate in the NEA Big Read, we recognize that Jack London’s literary works may be viewed as controversial and may offend some customers from time to time. However, we also support the Freedom to Read Statement, which the American Library Association drafted to support the right of library users to determine for themselves what they wish to read. We encourage our customers to carefully evaluate The Call of the Wild by using reviews accessible through our Library Catalog, databases and staff expertise to determine their specific customer needs and standards. Library staff members are also available and willing to assist in finding books that meet our customers’ needs and criteria. They can be reached by calling (407) 835-7323 or by visiting ocls.info.
- American Library Associations’ Library Bill of Rights – lists the organization’s collection of basic policies that should guide library services.
- Common Sense Media – provides caregivers with balanced, age-based reviews and guides on books, movies and more.
- National Endowment for the Arts Readers Resources: The Call of the Wild – provides readers with information about the author and title, discussion questions and additional resources. Available in English or Spanish.