The Big Read: St. Croix Valley Exploring ‘Grapes of Wrath’ in April

Read and experience John Steinbeck’s classic story of what happens when we lose our connection to the land.




2 minute read

Via ArtReach St. Croix/The Big Read:


Grapes-CoverThe Big Read in the St. Croix Valley is a one book, one community program that brings together residents from throughout the St. Croix Valley around a common book. This year’s programming will include a variety of literary, visual and performing arts opportunities centered on the themes found in The Grapes of Wrath.

The Grapes of Wrath is not merely a great American novel. It is also a significant event in our national history. Steinbeck’s novel captures the plight of millions of Americans whose lives had been crushed by the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. “Written in a style of peculiarly democratic majesty, The Grapes of Wrath evokes quintessentially American themes of hard work, self-determination, and reasoned dissent,” the NEA says. The Grapes of Wrath “speaks from assumptions common to most Americans whether their ancestors came over in a stateroom, in steerage, or were already here to greet the migrants.”

Numerous copies of The Grapes of Wrath and book club kits can be found in circulation at local libraries throughout the St. Croix Valley. In addition, ArtReach will be distributing hundreds of Read and Release copies of the book throughout the St. Croix Valley in Little Free Libraries, laundromats, coffee shops and doctor’s offices. If you prefer to purchase your own copy of The Grapes of Wrath, our local independently-owned bookstores Valley Bookseller in Stillwater and Chapter 2 Books in Hudson have copies available.

The Big Read in the St. Croix Valley is part of The Big Read, a program of National Endowment for the Arts, designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment.

Activities & Events

Click here for full details.

  • April 1: An Evening with Charlie Maguire: The Big Read Kick-off Event – The Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson
  • Through April 30: Laurie Schneider, “Stewards of the Land” gallery exhibition – Stillwater Public Library galleries
  • Through May 14: “From a Cloud of Dust” art exhibition – ArtReach St. Croix, Stillwater
  • April 1 – May 1: “From a Cloud of Dust” art exhibition – Freedom Park, Prescott
  • April 3: “The Grapes of Wrath” theatre tour – Hastings and Prescott
  • April 5: “Flight Behavior” book discussion – Stillwater Public Library
  • April 9-24: “The Grapes of Wrath” theatre production – St. Croix Falls
  • April 10: The Big Read Community Sing-in – Marine on St. Croix
  • April 13: “The Grapes of Wrath” theatre tour – Bayport
  • April 19: Cli-Fi Book Club: “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck – ArtReach St. Croix, Stillwater

There is more. Seriously! Go here to find it.