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Some individuals in this world are the types of people who make things happen. We applaud them. Yet there are other folks who notice the good works these motivated types are doing and alert us, the sometimes oblivious public, to their virtuous deeds; this informative act not only helps us give credit where credit is due, but it also has a motivating effect, empowering us to think we can make things better, too. Joe Miller belongs in this latter category. He followed a black debate team from a tough Kansas City school, observing the team members' transformation into a thoroughly skilled group of debaters, with the help of their dedicated coach. During this process Miller explores issues of race and highlights the kids' tremendous achievements. Meet the author and learn more about his first book, Cross-X, when he reads from it at 5 p.m. at the Big Read, a daylong festival that promotes, you guessed it, literacy. In addition to the many readings by both national and local authors (John Berendt, J.R. Moehringer and Ridley Pearson among them), the fest also features three spelling bees: one for kids, one for students and one for adults! Finally, we all will get our chance to prove our spelling proficiency without the use of spell-check — what fun! The Big Read offers far too many other events to mention here — various panel discussions, a children's film festival, the launch of the 75th anniversary edition of the Joy of Cooking, to name a few — so visit to find out more. Admission to all events is free, and the book celebration runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Clayton on South Central Avenue, between Forsyth Boulevard and Carondelet Avenue.
Sat., Oct. 7

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