CHILDREN'S THEATER AWARDED NEA GRANT ... The Palo Alto Children's Theatre is one of 77 nonprofits to be awarded a "Big Read" grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. As part of the project, which aims to "revitalize the role of literature in American culture," the theater received a grant of $11,300; overall, the awards totaled $1 million. Focusing on the Tobias Wolff novel "Old School," the theater will send a teaching artist to participating schools to develop creative activities around the book, which could take the form of theatrical readings, musical performances or other projects. Wolff will attend a gala event and address the students. Past events, which included some Palo Alto schools, focused on Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" and Julia Alvarez's "Time of the Butterflies."