Santa Barbara Public Library invites the community to read Joy Harjo’s An American Sunrise as part of 2021’s NEA Big Read:

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Santa Barbara Public Library invites the community to read Joy Harjo’s An American Sunrise as part of 2021’s NEA Big Read: Santa Barbara Reads. Each year, Santa Barbara Public Library encourages local residents to read the same book at the same time to connect with one another, engage in discussions about issues that matter, and examine the world from viewpoints other than their own.

An American Sunrise explores Indigenous pasts, presents, and potential futures in the United States, and prompts readers to unpack the ongoing impact of American colonialism. The poems in this book may not be easy for all of us to read, but they ask us to look our history in the eye—to acknowledge it, try to understand it, and to work toward a better future. 

Copies of An American Sunrise are available for free while supplies last beginning at the SB Reads Kick-off Event at the Central Library on Saturday, November 6, 2021 at 3 pm. This event will also feature a Poetry Walk featuring poems inspired by An American Sunrise written by local poets and selected to be featured as part SBPL’s poetry contest. 

Santa Barbara Public Library is also distributing 200 copies of selected poems from An American Sunrise translated into Spanish by SBPL’s Eric Castro and printed locally by Gunpowder Press with the permission of Joy Harjo. 

As part of Santa Barbara Reads, Santa Barbara Public Library has partnered with local experts, organizations, and schools to host book discussions and other engaging virtual and outdoor events throughout the community. Find the full list of events at SBPLibrary.org/SBReads.­­

Santa Barbara Reads 2021 is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Santa Barbara Reads is also funded through the annual support of the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation. The Foundation would like to thank the following 2021 sponsors. 

Champion of SB Reads

La Arcada

Santa Barbara Venture Partners

The Cheeryble Foundation

GA Fowler Family Foundation

Herb Simon Family Foundation

The Mithun Family Foundation

Benefactor of SB Reads

City National Bank


Towbes Group

Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation


Partner of SB Reads

Arlington Financial Advisors LLC

Ferris-Wong Endodontics

Friends of the Santa Barbara Public Library

SBCC Foundation

Mary Ann Froley

Jim and Chana Jackson




Contact Info


735 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101 

P: (805) 963-0611
F: (805) 564-5475