Kickoff starts at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 18

The countdown is on for the 2018 Big Read Kickoff, which is at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 18 at the Michael A. Guido Theater in the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave., Dearborn. The event is free.

The Big Read Dearborn, presented by the Dearborn Public Library in partnership with several community organizations, is celebrating Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake and is themed “What’s in a Name?”

The novel focuses on a married couple from India who immigrate to America, their children who were born in the United States, and the differences in their experiences. The son is given an unusual name, steeped in meaning. How that name impacts his life is a defining feature of the story.

The March 18 kick-off event begins at 3 p.m. inside the theater with performances by the Ardan Academy of Irish Dance, B.F. Raices Mexicanas de Detroit, Maples Music Ensemble, Nadanta (Indian Classical and Bollywood Fusion), and the P.R.C.U.A. Tatry Dancers (Polish).

Also in the theater will be the premiere of a film on immigration stories with contributions from State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, City Council President Susan Dabaja and Councilman David Bazzy, Dearborn business owner Karen Nigosian, and others. The film was produced by CDTV (City of Dearborn Television), part of the city’s Department of Public Information.

Audience members also will have the chance to have their own stories recorded by CDTV following the performances on March 18.

Also on March 18:

  • Free copies of The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (including a limited number of copies in Arabic) will be distributed.
  • You can mark the country of your family’s origin. A large world map will be display on which you can put a sticker indicating where your family is from.
  • Submit your family’s favorite recipe or favorite story to be included in a community publication. You can be entered to win a great prize just by submitting a recipe or story. If you are not prepared on March 18, you can take forms home to write out your recipe or to submit your story, with deadlines for both on April 15.
  • You can also win a great prize by attending the Kickoff, as well as other events, throughout the Big Read. The winner will be announced at the Wrap Up Event on April 28.

The month-long programming will feature more than 40 fun and educational events in March and April for all ages. Visit or for details.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment of the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Many sponsors are helping to make this program possible. DFCU Financial, the East and West Dearborn Downtown Development authorities, Dearborn Public Library Foundation, and the Friends of the Library-Dearborn (FOLD) are all Silver sponsors. The University of Michigan-Dearborn Mardigan Library, Henry Ford College Eshleman Library, AAUW-Dearborn, and the Dearborn Community Fund are all Bronze sponsors.

This is the third time that Dearborn has celebrated the Big Read. Previous incarnations of the Dearborn Big Read celebrated The Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe and Jack London’s Call of the Wild.