2017-18 Great Michigan Read

One title, one state and thousands engaged in literary discussion.

Listen to audio of the announcement, courtesy michiganradio.org:

Michigan Humanities Council is announcing the sixth round of Great Michigan Read, a biennial statewide literary program focusing on humanities themes. The Great Michigan Read aims to connect us as Michiganians by deepening our understanding of our state, our society, and our humanity. A statewide panel of teachers, librarians, community leaders and book lovers select the Great Michigan Read every two years. The 2017-18 Great Michigan Read title is X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon.


“This honor is especially important to me.  It is always a high honor to have one’s work recognized by a distinguished organization such as Michigan Humanities Council, and to be an inspiration to readers throughout Michigan.” ~ Ilyasah Shabazz, Author

There will be several opportunities to meet the authors, register as a community partner, present and attend book-related programs, and be a part of our new exciting ideas for the 2017–18 Great Michigan Read.

X:  A Novel is an engrossing tale of the arduous past of a civil rights leader, and a fine platform for engaging humanities programs and discussion across the state,” said Shelly Hendrick Kasprzycki, Executive Director.

The book explores the Michigan roots of Malcolm X, including the early life experiences, both good and bad, that molded him into one of the most prominent leaders of the twentieth century.

Book Summary

X: A Novel is a fictionalized account of the early years of Malcolm X.  Malcolm was a young man with boundless potential but with the odds stacked against him. After losing his father under suspicious circumstances and his mother to a mental health hospital, Malcolm fell into a life of petty crime and eventually went to prison. Instead of letting prison be his downfall, Malcom found a religion, a voice; and the podium that would eventually make him one of the most prominent figures in the burgeoning Civil Rights movement.

X: A Novel, is a tale of reinvention and redemption. Written by Ilyasah Shabazz, Malcom X’s third daughter, and Kekla Magoon, X: A Novel is a young-adult novel with a writing style and message that will appeal to readers of all ages.  Join us as we work to explore the Michigan roots of one of the most influential leaders of the twentieth century.

Program Dates:

Program Materials

Great Michigan Read partners receive free reader’s guides, teacher’s guides, bookmarks, and other supplemental materials. Schools, libraries, and select nonprofits will be eligible for free copies of the book. Contact Katie Wittenauer, Program Officer, if you need program materials. As of September 2018, there are no remaining book copies for distribution, but other resources are still available.

Quick Grants

Quick Grants of up to $750 are available to support Great Michigan Read programming. Quick Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until the allocation of funds for the fiscal year is exhausted. The Quick Grants application is currently closed.

Selection Process

The 2017–18 Great Michigan Read title was selected by seven regional selection committees representing all corners of Michigan. After reading books with Michigan themes or locations from June–September 2016, the selection committee chairs met in Lansing in October of 2016 where they selected X: A Novel as the next Great Michigan Read.

Join the Discussion by Becoming a Great Michigan Read Partner