The Big Read 2023: Homegoing

Find out what's going on with the Big Read this year!

What is the Big Read?

Now in its 10th year, the Big Read Lakeshore is an annual community reading program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. Hope College, Herrick, and dozens of schools, libraries, and other organizations across West Michigan team up to celebrate stories by putting on programs, events, and even author visits all centered around a single book. This year, we're encouraging our community to explore family, history, and culture with Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.

What about the Little and Middle Reads?

Every year, the Big Read is accompanied by the Little and Middle Reads, ways for kids and teens to get in on the fun. We select these books to fit with the Big Read's broader themes. 2023's Little Read is Change Sings, a picture book that combines an inspiring poem by Amanda Gorman with beautiful illustrations by Loren Long.

We're extra excited about this year's Middle Read, New Kid by Jerry Craft, which was the first graphic novel to ever win the Newberry Award. With the support of a grant from Michigan Humanities, Herrick District Library will be welcoming Jerry Craft to a free, public event at our very own North Branch on November 15. In addition to New Kid, young readers can explore Ghanian history and culture with our second Middle Read selection, The Door of No Return, a stunning novel in verse by Newberry medalist Kwame Alexander.

And the Mini Read?

New for 2023, the Mini Read is a book chosen for our littlest readers. Our first-ever Mini Read selection is The More We Get Together, an uplifting picture book by Celeste Cortright about friends working together to make their neighborhood a better place for everyone. If you want more info about what Herrick is doing to celebrate the Little, Middle, and Mini reads, check out this blog post by our North Branch children's librarian Adrienne.

When can I see the Big Read authors in person?

Yaa Gyasi (Homegoing) will be presenting at Hope College on November 13 at 7:00pm. You can come and meet Jerry Craft (New Kid) for conversation and book signings at Herrick's North Branch on November 15 at 6:00pm. Both events are free and open to the public!

What other events is the Big Read offering this year?

Traverse our StoryWalks for Change Sings and The More We Get Together at Ottawa County parks or come to the North Branch for special Little and Mini Read storytimes November 7-9. Schedule an appointment to stop by Groundworks and tell your stories about home and homegoing as part of the Holland Story Project, Herrick's oral history initiative. For a complete list of events happening all over West Michigan, peruse the Big Read Lakeshore's full calendar of events here.

What should I read once I've finished Homegoing?

If you're looking for more family sagas, books about African and Black experiences, or immigration stories, check out the list of readalikes below or ask a librarian for a recommendation the next time you stop by the library.


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