ATTLEBORO — Whaling ships out of Nantucket sailed around the world in search of ocean behemoths with only incomplete and faulty maps — and the stars — to guide them.

And the stars and a sextant might be a sailor’s only resources at sea in an open boat, like the survivors adrift in the Pacific Ocean in Nathaniel Philbrick’s “In the Heart of the Sea,” this year’s NEA Big Read: Attleboro book selection.

On Wednesday, Oct. 9, you can learn more about this ancient skill in a presentation by Brian Koehler, supervisor of the Treworgy Planetarium at Mystic Seaport. The program is suited for children ages 8 and up with accompanying adults.

His “Navigation by the Stars” will be presented at 4:30 p.m. and again at 6 p.m. at the Attleboro Public Library at 74 North Main St. Register online at or by calling 508-222-0157.

Other Big Read activities starting this week include the Yankee Baleeiros exhibit on display in the Marble Lobby on the second floor of the library. It will be on display from through Friday, Oct. 25.

The exhibit, subtitled “The shared Legacies of Luso and Yankee Whalers,” describes the connections between Luso-Americans of the Azorean, Cape Verdean and Brazilian communities in America — which all participated in the Yankee whaling industry — from the 18th century through the first half of this century.

This traveling exhibit is provided by the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Learn more at

Tickets for the Oct. 24 Finale Dinner, to be prepared and served by the Attleboro High School Culinary Arts atudents, are now available at the Attleboro Library. A $10 donation per ticket to AHS is requested.

To help fund Big Read programming, Attleboro’s 1ABC Committee has received a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Also contributing funding for the two months of events in September and October are Bristol County Savings Bank, the Attleboro Cultural Council, Friends of Attleboro Public Library, Rotary Club of Attleboro and the Trustees of the Attleboro Public Library.

NEA Big Read: Attleboro partners include the Attleboro Arts Museum, Attleboro Area Industrial Museum, Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative, Attleboro Council on Aging, Attleboro Land Trust, Attleboro Public Library, Attleboro Public Schools, Attleboro YMCA, Bishop Feehan High School, Bristol Community College, DoubleACS, The Literacy Center, The Sun Chronicle and Wheaton College.

For more information and to register for events, visit or call the Attleboro Public Library at 508-222-0157.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. It encourages residents of a community to read the same book at the same time and enhance the shared experience through local arts and culture activities.

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