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Literature and Imagination Make Democracy Work

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
The final lesson in the "What Makes Democracy Work?" series examines the connections between imagination, literature, and democracy. Class members listen to a podcast, read an excerpt from Azar Nafisi's, The Republic of Imagination, and...
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4:44
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Chosen Family and Ghost

For Teachers 6th - 12th Standards
There's something powerful about a book that speaks your language and experiences or introduces you to the language and experiences of others. A National Book Award winner, Jason Reynolds' novel, Ghost, is such a book. Find out more...
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2:53
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Relatable Characters in Dark Tales and The Book Thief

For Teachers 6th - 9th Standards
Markus Zusak's The Book Thief is another novel high on the list of must-reads from The Great American Read collection. Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former President George  W. Bush, and John Green of Crash Course series fame share why...
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4:04
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Falling in Love with Reading and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

For Students 7th - 10th Standards
At first glance, it doesn't seem like Betty Smith's story of 11-year old Francie Nolan, a poor Irish girl living in the 1920's Brooklyn, should remain a best-seller for almost 100 years. But A Tree Grows in Brooklyn has remained a...
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1:29
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Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explores Gulliver's Travels

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
Scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson explains why Gulliver's Travels is his favorite novel. Tyson shares his joy in the sometimes otherworldly stories.
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11:38
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100 Years of Solitude, Part 1

For Students 9th - 12th Standards
100 Years of Solitude is not for readers who prefer linear narratives. Gabriel Garcia Marquez's tale mixes the past, present, and future simultaneously. Marquez's masterpiece of Magical Realism models that individual perspectives...
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5:55
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Pride and Prejudice

For Teachers 6th - 12th Standards
Published in 1813 and considered by many to be the first romance novel, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice still tops the chart as a favorite read. Literary experts share why the tale of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy continues to win the...
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1:58
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Why Pride and Prejudice Is Relevant Today

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
Believe it or not, there is a group of Jane Austen fans who call themselves Janeites and gather each year to celebrate all things Austen, dancing, and dressing in period-authentic clothing. In this video, one devoted fan shares her...
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3:07
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One Hundred Years of Solitude | The Great American Read

For Students 6th - 12th Standards
One Hundred Years of Solitude introduces readers to magic realism. Told in a series of flashbacks and flash-forwards, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Nobel Prize-winning novel is a candidate for The Great American Read program and aficionados...
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3:07
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Gulliver's Travels | The Great American Read

For Students 9th - 12th Standards
Neil deGrasse Tyson shares his rationale for why Gulliver's Travels was his favorite book as a child and still is as an adult. He urges viewers to vote to include Swift's satire in The Great American Read program.
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1:57
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Allison Williams Explains Her Love for Frankenstein's Monster

For Students 9th - 12th Standards
Ah, but who is the real monster in Frankenstein? Actress Allison Williams shares her reasoning for why Mary Shelly's horror story should be included in The Great American Read series. 
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3:27
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Bill T. Jones Discusses James Baldwin's Another Country

For Students 9th - 12th Standards
Bill T. Jones, Artistic Director of New York Line Arts describes why he picked James Baldwin's novel, Another Country as his favorite novel.
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3:21
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The Handmaid's Tale | The Great American Read

For Students 6th - 12th Standards
Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale is the focus of a Great American Read video that urges viewers to read this dystopian novel about a villainous society that oppresses women and minority groups.
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2:19
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Scarlett O'Hara's True Love in Gone with the Wind

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
Rather than waiting to think about it tomorrow, a video from the PBS Great American Read series asks viewers to think about Gone with the Wind today, to see the novel as the story of a strong woman, a woman with "gumption."
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4:01
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George R.R. Martin Discusses Lord of the Rings

For Students 6th - 12th Standards
George R.R. Martin, famous in his own right for heroes, villains, dragons, and direwolves, offers his rationale for why viewers should vote for J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings with its elves, wizards, and hobbits as part of the Great...
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3:58
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Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

For Students 9th - 12th Standards
Created for the Great American Read series, a short video encourages viewers to vote for Invisible Man. Musician Wynton Marsalis and Dr. Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress, among others, share their rationale for why Ralph Ellison's...
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Their Eyes Were Watching God: Socratic Seminar

For Teachers 10th - Higher Ed Standards
A Socratic seminar wraps-up a study of Zora Neale Hurston' Their Eyes were Watching God. Using the text and their notes, scholars focus on how characters in the novel accept or reject the societal norms of the times.
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2:33
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John Green Talks about the Importance of The Catcher in the Rye

For Students 8th - 12th Standards
A part of The Great American Read series, John Green shares his passion for J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye and urges viewers to include the novel on their list of great books.
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Shifting Perspectives in Toni Morrison's Beloved

For Students 10th - 12th Standards
An interactive provides readers with an opportunity to record their reactions to Beloved, Toni Morrison's powerful narrative based on the life of Margaret Garner. Prompts ask them to consider how the shifting point of view contributes to...
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4:13
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The Pain of History and Beloved

For Students 9th - 12th Standards
Readers of Toni Morrison's Beloved share their reasons for why the painful and powerful narrative should be on the list of books for the Great American Read program.
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Their Eyes Were Watching God: The Impact of Language

For Teachers 10th - Higher Ed Standards
Author, filmmaker, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston was also a dialectologist. The dialogue of the characters in her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God reveals her fascination with accents and dialects. A short video from the Great...
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3:15
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Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

For Students 6th - 12th Standards
Narrators of a short video offer their rationale for why Catch 22 should be included in the Great American Read program. They touch on the key themes in Heller's satirical and sobering novel about Captain John Yossarian and the catch-22s...
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0:53
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Joseph Heller's Hilarious Catch-22

For Students 9th - 12th Standards
Comedian Seth Meyers shares his rationale for why Catch 22 should get viewers to vote for inclusion of Joseph Heller's satire in the Great American Read program.
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4:06
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Dune

For Students 6th - 12th Standards
Dune remains one of the most popular science fiction tales ever written. Find out why with a short video that argues for including Frank Herbert's tale of sandworms and Fremen, Mentats and witches, villains and heroes in the Great...