On September 15, Portland elementary public schools received 1,200 free books celebrating immigrants and refugees to kick off the NEA Big Read: Portland, ME, a citywide discussion of immigration, in honor of National Welcoming Week. All of the books feature representations of immigrants and refugees and were provided by I’m Your Neighbor Books, a Portland nonprofit, and University of Southern Maine’s Department of Literacy, Language, and Culture. This year’s Big Read focuses on the novel Infinite Country by Patricia Engel. All Portland public school English Language Arts teachers received a classroom set of Infinite Country, as well as reading guides and discussion questions.

Katheen McGovern, Pious Ali, Kirsten Cappy, Meg Rooks, Jen Boggs at Gerald E. Talbot Community School