Washtenaw County annually selects a book to be read by various libraries within the county through the Washtenaw Reads program. This program was started back in 2003 by the University of Michigan Life Sciences, Values and Society Program, which took inspiration after a project developed by the Seattle Public Library. The Washtenaw libraries that host this program consist of Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Northfield Township, Saline and Ypsilanti. For the 2018 county read, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi was selected by the committee.
This year, Chelsea High School became involved with this program for the first time ever. The AP Literature class participated in the countywide event thanks to the Chelsea District Library, which donated 30 copies for the class. This novel will also be included in the 12th grade English curriculum beginning next year, and will be offered as a literature circle book option for CP students. As a reader of the book, I can honestly say that it was a great, quick read. The story line is phenomenal and very well put together; I would strongly urge anyone to read it and step outside of his or her usual comfort zone when it comes to literature.
Homegoing is beginning to spread across the Chelsea area; Serendipity Books, along with the library and other groups, has held book clubs regarding the ever-spreading novel. As a way to further promote the book, Chelsea District Library has held various events about themes regarding the book, including a discussion with ACLU lawyer and activist Mark Fancher and drum circles to celebrate the heritage present within the book.
Following the great amount of hype Homegoing has gotten within Washtenaw County–and even within the small community of Chelsea–there is also an upcoming author event in Ann Arbor at Rackham Auditorium, where one can meet Gyasi. Coming up on February 6th at 6 p.m., one can listen to and discuss with the author–for free. One can interact with Gyasi, and get the answers to pressing questions. This would be a great event to go to, especially for those interested in or who have read the book.
For more information on Washtenaw Reads, visit wread.org