Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 by

Rebecca Mitchell, Director of Alabama Public Library Services, and NewSouth Managing Editor Brian Seidman recently sat down with Tonya Terry on WSFA News at Noon’s “12 Talk” program to discuss The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the origins of Alabama’s first ever statewide Big Read program.

“This started about 2008 when a group of librarians received Big Read grants from the National Endowment for the Arts to run local community-wide book readings,” Mitchell said. “They called me and wanted to do it statewide, so we started working and divided the state into nine regions, and all nine were given grants by the NEA and Institute of Museum and Library Services to perform a statewide program starting in late January and running through April. We chose Tom Sawyer and it will be in all our public libraries, a lot of our schools, and our universities. It’s a project we’re excited about.”

It’s not often that a regional publishing house like NewSouth Books is afforded the opportunity to publish a work for their state’s Big Read program.

“We were honored,” Seidman said, “to be chosen by the Alabama Big Read committee—with the NEA’s blessing—to be the first ever regional publisher for the NEA Big Read program.”

NewSouth’s edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is unabridged and annotated, and carries a special forward by local Twain scholar Alan Gribben, and includes an NEA Reader’s Guide.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer makes a great stocking stuffer! It’s available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online bookseller