Hope College’s NEA Big Read Lakeshore and Little Read Lakeshore bring the community together around a common book for a month each fall, using the shared experience of reading, discussing, and exploring the themes of the book as a springboard to listen to and learn from each other. Presented in collaboration with 50 community partners including lakeshore libraries, non-profits, businesses, school districts, and academic institutions, the programs involve thousands of readers along the Lakeshore each year.
2023 Themes: Identity, Family, Racism, Hope, Change
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
- Beautifully written historical fiction about the legacy of chattel slavery spanning eight generations.
- Homegoing explores many powerful themes, including legacy, heritage, human rights, jazz, family traditions, and much more. This novel follows several generations of one family starting with the Atlantic Slave Trade in the 1700s and ending in the mid-2000s. We know as a society that enslaved people experienced unquestionable brutality, and those atrocities continued throughout our nation’s history. It is important to note that Gyasi fully depicts individual characters’ experiences, including sexual assault, physical violence, and emotional torment, throughout the novel through the lens of different characters.
- If you liked Homegoing, click here for similar recommendations!
This content, while historically accurate, may be challenging for some readers.
The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander
- The first book in a searing, breathtaking trilogy that tells the story of a boy, a village, and the epic odyssey of an African family
(high school alternative to Homegoing).
- If you liked The Door of No Return, click here for similar recommendations!
New Kid by Jerry Craft
- The novel tells the story of a 12-year-old African American boy named Jordan Banks who experiences culture shock when he enrolls at a private school.
- If you liked New Kid, click here for similar recommendations!
Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem by Amanda Gorman
- A lyrical picture book debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman and #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long.
- If you liked Change Sings, click here for similar recommendations!
The More We Get Together by Celeste Cortright
- Set to the familiar tune of “The More We Get Together,” this new addition to Barefoot Books’ bestselling singalong collection features a diverse group of children who work together to make their urban neighborhood cleaner, friendlier, and safer for everyone.
Loutit Community Craft Project
Loutit District Library is inviting people of all ages to participate in a community art project one piece at a time, as part of this year’s NEA Big Read Lakeshore! Visit the Youth Desk in the library to claim a tile or click here to download a printable sheet of four.
Take a cardstock tile and decorate it to be part of the community. Will your tile be a park, a home, a business, or something else inspired by your imagination? Use crayons, paint, colored pencils, or any art medium that you’d like! When you complete your piece turn it in to the Youth Desk at Loutit District Library! We’ll assemble them all together to show that we are all part of one community.
Big Read Programs
We have some amazing Big Read programs this November! Discuss your thoughts on Homegoing, enjoy free movies that share this year’s Big Read themes, learn how to draw comics inspired by Change Sings, and more! Click any of the images below to learn more, or click here to view our entire November calendar.