Places in the Heart

Images from the Picturing America collection celebrate scenic as well as man-made wonders—those carved by the forces of nature and those crafted by human ingenuity. Some also suggest the ways in which human experience is shaped, even defined, by place.

The books chosen for “Places in the Heart” present a similar message and are set in an urban ghetto (Brothers and Keepers), along one of the great scenic rivers in North America (A River Runs through It), and in small towns from Colorado (Plainsong), to Iowa (Gilead), to Maine (Empire Falls). In each, there is a deep connection between the characters and their surroundings, between them and the places they call home.

This theme is part of the Let's Talk About It: Picturing America series. Other themes in this series include Land of Opportunity, Making Tracks, Objects of Art, and the Work of Freedom: Individual and Communal.

Book List

Related Picturing America Images

  • 5A—View from Mt. Holyoke (the Oxbow) by Thomas Cole
  • 5B—Cover Illustration for The Last of the Mohicans by N.C. Wyeth
  • 8A—Looking Down Yosemite Valley, CA by Albert Bierstadt
  • 9A—The Veteran in a New Field by Winslow Homer
  • 11A—John Biglin in a Single Scull by Thomas Eakins
  • 13A—Brooklyn Bridge, 1929 by Walker Evans
  • 13B—Autumn Landscape—River of Life by Louis Comfort Tiffany
  • 14B—Brooklyn Bridge, 1919–20 by Joseph Stella
  • 16B—Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright
  • 19A—Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell
  • 19B—Selma-to-Montgomery March for Voting Rights in 1965 by James Karales
  • 20A—Cityscape I by Richard Diebenkorn
  • 20B—Ladder for Booker T. Washington by Martin Puryear

Program Brochure

The project scholar was Suzanne Ozment, Ph.D., Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Professor of English, University of South Carolina Aiken.

Download the scholar’s essay and recommended reading list (PDF). Please note: The American Library Association is the copyright owner of this essay and annotations. The credit lines embedded in the program materials and/or sponsor and funder logos must remain on all published (print and web) materials derived from these materials.

How-To Discussion Programming Guides

Developed to aid participants in “The Millennium Project for Public Libraries,” this how-to guide (PDF) provides basic information about developing and promoting book discussion programs.

When planning a “Let’s Talk About It” program, you may wish to consult the planner’s manual (PDF) for general how-to information about program format, selecting a scholar, promoting your series, evaluation, and more.