‘Grit’ comes to DeKalb


Amy Timberlake, author of “One Came Home,” reads a snippet from her book Tuesday at the Ellwood House Visitor’s Center, 509 N. 1st St., as part of the Big Read “True Grit” event sponsored by the DeKalb Public Library. Timberlake’s book centers around a Western mystery and adventure. The library will hold Western-themed events all through October.

By Keisha Howerth

The DeKalb Public Library, 309 Oak St., plans to spend a national grant on Big Read events throughout October for the seventh year in a row.

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded the DeKalb Public Library a $15,000 grant to promote literacy through the Big Read program. The DeKalb Public Library is one of three libraries in the nation to get the grant for seven consecutive years.

The Big Read is a national organization that works to encourage reading.

Through the program, participating libraries choose one book from the endowment’s list to read and discuss within the community. DeKalb’s Big Read steering committee book chose to read “True Grit” by Charles Portis for this year’s literacy event.

“‘True Grit’ is an accessible book and appeals to a wide range of ages,” said teen services librarian Steve Roman. “It’s for readers demanding more than a simple story.”

The book follows a 14-year-old girl as she tracks down her father’s murderer with the help of a U.S. marshal.

“We order between 3,000 and 10,000 books to give away throughout the month,” said library communications manager Edith Craig. “So many groups have called for the books, and we ran out before the month started. People want the free books.”

Copies of the book will be given away at each of the Western-themed events planned this month, like a Wild West Hat Craft today from 10:30 to 11 a.m.

The youth services department is also holding a storytelling project throughout the month called “The Tall Tale Wall,” where kids are invited to fill in parts of the Western story written on the blue wall in the children’s section.

“They can write a sentence or two on the parchment and create their own story,” said youth services manager Theresa Winterbauer.

Sunday, the library will host a hoedown picnic that will feature a performance by the Stage Coach Players. As early as today, kids can also look forward to pony rides, Western-themed crafts and an appearance from yodeling cowboy Randy Erwin, who was featured in Disney’s animated film “Home on the Range.” On Oct. 10, teens can take part in their own event in a roleplaying mystery game that blends the Western genre with another, like science fiction.