The NEA Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, is designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture. The Big Read brings together partners from across the country to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment. JMRL invites all book lovers in Central Virginia to join The NEA Big Read throughout March 2017. Read and discuss Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones and participate in programs about the book, its themes, and its author.
We've selected a list of books, movies, and music in the JMRL collection that will inspire further exploration and enhance your reading. There is a printable version of the adult list. Find more resources and discussion questions for this book in the Big Read Reader’s Guide.
About the Author
Read the official NEA Big Read bio to Tayari Jones.
Read Jones's biography on her webpage.
Read an article by the author "On Writing With Empathy"
Works by Tayari Jones
Related Reading - Fiction
- F Leavitt, Caroline
- CRUEL, BEAUTIFUL WORLD
- Similar in tone to Silver Sparrow, this is a coming-of-age story of two sisters in the 1960s, one of whom goes missing.
- F Moriarty, Liane
- A HUSBAND'S SECRET
- Discovering a tattered letter that says she is to open it only in the event of her husband's death, Cecilia, a successful family woman, is unable to resist reading the letter and discovers a secret that shatters her life and the lives of two other women.
- Murphy, Jennifer
- I LOVE YOU MORE
- When Picasso's father is murdered, her mother is suspected of the crime, until it's discovered that Picoasso had a second and third wife. The women say they have never met one another, but Picasso knows that this isn't the truth - in this mystery featuring family secrets and betrayal.
- F Niffenegger, Audrey
- HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY
- Two American twin teenagers move into a flat inherited from their aunt near a cemetery in London, but they learn that things may still be alive in the cemetery, including their aunt, in this story centered on secrets and sisterhood.
- F Oyeyemi, Helen
- BOY, SNOW, BIRD
- Family secrets, race, and vanity are explored in this retelling of the Snow White tale when a stepdaughter’s dark skin exposes a light-skinned African American family passing for white in a small town in 1950s Massachusetts.
- F Picoult, Jodi
- MY SISTER’S KEEPER
- Initially conceived to provide a bone marrow match for her sister fighting leukemia, teenage Kate struggles with moral and familial obligations which have burdened her since birth while living in the shadow of her sister’s needs.
- F Setterfeld, Diane
- THE THIRTEENTH TALE
- The enigmatic author Vida Winter with multiple identities finally allows a biographer write the truth about her past which she had thought she’d buried for good. Biographer Margaret Lea, whose own birth is shrouded in mystery, is mesmerized by her tales and both women are transformed by truths uncovered.
- F Sittenfeld, Curtis
- Kate has done her best to hide psychic abilities shared by her twin sister Violet and lead a normal life. But when an enormous earthquake hits and Violet publicly predicts one far more worse, Kate must decide how to handle the relationship with her sister and face her own truths.
- F Shreve, Anita
- THE PILOT’S WIFE
- When Kathryn’s husband dies in a plane crash, she finds herself at the center of publicity that is stirring up about her husband, and rumors of his secret life.
- F Udall, Brady
- THE LONELY POLYGAMIST
- A tragicomic story about Golden Richards, a polygamist with four wives and 28 children, who has a midlife-crisis affair that threatens his family. A beautiful story that tells of characters grappling with the nature of need, belonging, and love.
- F Ward, Jesmyn
- SALVAGE THE BONES
- An award-winning story about family and survival shows the journey of four motherless siblings in a coastal Mississippi town preparing for Hurricane Katrina and sacrificing for one another as they deal with teenage pregnancy, a dying litter of prize puppies, and an alcoholic and absent father.
Related Reading - Nonfiction
- 92 Angelou, Maya
- MOM & ME & MOM
- This focus on the larger-than-life mother of Maya Angelou, and the relationship they shared, highlights the complicated relationship between mother and daughter.
- 305.896 Coates, Ta-Nehisi
Movies and Music
Books for Teens
TEEN READ SELECTION:
- YA Wolff, Virginia Euwer
Books for Youth
LITTLE READ SELECTION:
- J Williams Garcia, Rita
- J DiCamillo, Kate
- RAYMIE NIGHTINGALE
- Raymie enters a beauty pageant hoping to win her father’s affection and bring him home and is drawn into unlikely friendships with her competition.
- J Frazier, Sundee Tucker
- THE OTHER HALF OF MY HEART
- When Minerva and Keira King were born, they made headlines: Keira is black like Mama, but Minni is white like Daddy. Together the family might look like part of a chessboard row, but they are first and foremost the close-knit Kings. Then Grandmother Johnson calls, to invite the twins down South to compete for the title of Miss Black Pearl Preteen of America. Minni dreads the spotlight, but Keira assures her that together they'll get through their stay with Grandmother Johnson. But when their grandmother's bias against Keira reveals itself, Keira pulls away from her twin. Minni has always believed that no matter how different she and Keira are, they share a deep bond of the heart. Now she'll find out whether that’s really true.
- J Greenwald, Lisa
- MY LIFE IN PINK AND GREEN
- When the family's drugstore is failing, seventh-grader Lucy uses her problem-solving talents to come up with solution that might resuscitate the business, along with helping the environment.
- J Kelly, Erin Entrada
- THE LAND OF FORGOTTEN GIRLS
- Abandoned by their father and living in poverty with their heartless stepmother in Louisiana, two sisters from the Philippines, twelve-year-old Sol and six-year-old Ming, learn the true meaning of family.
- J Kline, Lisa Williams
- WINTER’S TIDE
- Building a family is hard, especially with stepsisters who are complete opposites. During the bleak and dreary days of winter, Diana continues to be bullied at school, Stephanie continues hiding a painful secret, and both their lives are shaken by two tragic accidents.
- J Leal, Ann Haywood
- A FINDERS-KEEPERS PLACE
- As their mother’s manic-depression worsens, sisters Esther and Ruth search for their father, a preacher who left them seven years earlier in 1966.
- J Paulsen, Gary
- LIAR, LIAR: THE THEORY, PRACTICE, AND DESTRUCTIVE PROPERTIES OF DECEPTION
- Fourteen-year-old Kevin is very good at lying and doing so makes life easier, but when he finds himself in big trouble with his friends, family, and teachers, he must find a way to end his lies forever.
- J Pearsall, Shelley
- J Standiford, Natalie
- THE SECRET TREE
- After Minty discovers a secret tree with a hollow trunk that holds the secrets of everyone in the neighborhood, Raymond, a new boy drawn to the tree and Minty start watching their neighbors.
- J Stead, Rebecca
- WHEN YOU REACH ME
- In 1979, as her mother prepares to be a contestant on a television game show, Miranda tries to make sense of a series of mysterious notes received from an anonymous source that seems to defy the laws of time and space.
Picture Books Featuring Family'