This year’s NEA Big Read Lakeshore is already underway with multiple events around the region, but it is only a few days before its formal beginning! 

The kickoff event will be on October 30, where Dr. Ernest Cole, Chair of the Hope College English Department, and Dr. Fred Johnson from the History department, will speak on the reasons to read this year’s Big Read selection, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, a novel surrounding the legacy of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade on both Ghana and the United States from the 18th-century to modern day. Though Homegoing is the central read of this year’s program, there are a handful of other selections that fit well for younger readers as well, including The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander and New Kid by Jerry Craft for middle grade readers and Change Sings and The More We Get Together for early readers. These books all touch on themes of home, belonging, and racial equality and justice in the United States. Events for the Big Read will take place until November 21, and these include a plethora of different events in Muskegon, Ottawa, and Allegan counties. 

These events range from author visits, to theatrical and musical performances, to looking at literature critically. 

Yaa Gyasi is visiting Hope College on Monday, November 13 at 7:00 PM in the Jack H. Miller Concert Hall. Jerry Craft will also be at the Jack H. Miller Concert Hall on Tuesday, November 14 at 9:00 AM, as well as at the Frauenthal Center in Muskegon on Tuesday at 7:00 PM and Herrick North Branch Library in Holland on Wednesday, November 15 at 6:00 PM. Linda Lowry will be giving a lecture on Monday, November 20 at 7:00 PM in Graves Hall. 

Other than these author visits, Hope College’s Strike Time Dance Company will be performing a theatrical dance rendition of Change Sings at Hope College in the Dow Center (studio 207) on Saturday, November 4 at 10:00 AM, as well as another performance at White Lake Community Library at 12:00 PM. 

These are just some of the amazing events part of this year’s Big Read, and we would encourage you to check them all out on the website! We look forward to seeing you at these events!

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