Great Lakes Great Read

 -A Region-wide year-long reading program!

Inaugural Great Lakes, Great Read Program Announces 2024-2025 Book Selections for Great Lakes States and Provinces

In partnership with library associations, citizen education groups, Sea Grant programs and universities throughout the eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces, the Library of the Great Lakes is excited to announce the books selected for the 2024-2025 basin-wide shared-reading experience, Great Lakes Great Read.

Great Lakes Great Read is modelled after One Book One Community and state- or province-wide annual reading programs that choose one book for libraries, citizen groups of all kinds, and the public to read and enjoy over the course of a year.

The Great Lakes Great Read program has chosen two books for its inaugural period, from April 2024 – September 2025: The Water Walker by Joanne Robertson is the children’s selection, and the adult selection is The Best Part of Us by Sally Cole-Misch.

The Water Walker is the story of a determined Ojibwe grandmother, a “nokomis” named Josephine Mandamin, who walks to raise awareness of the need to protect “nibi” (water). Robertson wrote and illustrated the book, which was published in 2017.

Published in 2020, Sally Cole-Misch’s award-winning novel The Best Part of Us explores a family’s connections to an island in the Canadian waters of an inland lake just north of Lake Huron, and how those ties are tested through nature and family dynamics.

“It’s terrific to have two authors whose knowledge and commitment to the Great Lakes is demonstrated so beautifully in their insightful and engaging books for the inaugural year of our region-wide Great Lakes Great Read,” said Inger Schultz, president and co-founder of the Library of the Great Lakes. “The Library of the Great Lakes looks forward to partnering with libraries, schools and organizations throughout the Great Lakes for GLGR 2024-25.”

Great Lakes Great Read partner Laura Sauser of the Wisconsin Library Association said, “All Wisconsinites are encouraged to read these titles, and we also hope to be a catalyst for libraries throughout the upper Midwestern states and Canadian provinces to engage patrons through a range of activities.”

And Swim Drink Fish Canada president Mark Mattson said, “We are thrilled to belong to such an important initiative. Improving our understanding and appreciation of the Great Lakes watershed is a critical element in protecting and restoring it.”

Both selected authors will be featured in a free webinar series on September 25 and Oct. 2 and 9. All events will start at 7 pm ET/6 pm CT and will be open to all. The authors are available for in-person and online conversations and presentations with libraries, book clubs and other groups throughout the region throughout the 2024-2025 period.

The Great Lakes Great Read website, offers further details on the authors, their books, book discussion questions, a toolkit and other resources, including who to contact in each state and province to participate in the program.

This initiative is made possible by an Ideas to Action grant from WiLS in Madison, Wisconsin. In-kind support was provided by the staff with the Wisconsin Water Library at UW Madison, Wisconsin Sea Grant, the Wisconsin Library Association and UW-Parkside. Wisconsin Sea Grant and the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute support the Wisconsin Water Library.

Several organizations, including the Library of the Great Lakes, have partnered together to create and carry out the Great Lakes Great Read program. For more information and to sign up to participate, visit Great Lakes Great Read.

Quotes from around the Great Lakes:

“The Great Lakes have shaped Wisconsin as we know it. These inland seas provide drinking water and fuel our agriculture, shipping, manufacturing and recreation,” said WWL Senior Special Librarian Anne Moser. “These two books will bring the lakes alive in new and evocative ways. We hope readers will reflect on the lakes and be inspired, become passionate and feel more connected to them.” 

WLA Executive Director Laura Sauser said, “All Wisconsinites are encouraged to read these titles, and we also hope to be a catalyst for libraries throughout the upper Midwestern states and Canadian provinces to engage patrons through a range of activities.”

Great Lakes Odyssey Radio Hour Executive Producer Tom Leonard said, “Like never before, the Great Lakes, Great Read unites libraries across the watershed in linking youth and adults to award winning authors passionate about the cultural and ecological significance of our magnificent natural resource.”