Community Read

Book Cover for Hadha Baladuna
Community Read Event

Community Read is a program of the Faculty Senate's First Year Experience Committee (co-chairs Kristin Poling and Michael McDonald), similar to the NEA's Big Read. Students, especially those new to our campus, engage with topics across disciplines. 

The reading for 2023-2024 is Hadha Baladuna: Arab American Narratives of Boundary and Belonging, edited by Ghassan Zeineddine, Nabeel Abraham, and Sally Howell. Hadha Baladuna is a 2023 Michigan Notable Book award winner.

Hadha Baladuna (This Is Our Country) collects creative nonfiction on a diversity of Arab American experiences, from a 1920s Lebanese peddler to an Iraqi-Lebanese poet inspired by Tupac Shakur. Topics include family, history, religion, immigration, music, gender, healing, and political activism. This book is linked to our campus by faculty editors Zeineddine (English) and Howell (History), and by UM-Dearborn alumni authors Teri Bazzi, Mai Jakubowski, Yasmin Mohamed, and Hanan Ali Nasser.

Please consider using book selections in class and encourage students to participate. For resources, see the Mardigian Library Subject Guide on Hadha Baladuna. Additional teaching ideas and resources were generated at our May workshop.

Hadha Baladuna is freely available as an ebook with a UM login. If you prefer a hard copy of the book to facilitate teaching, please ask Kristin Poling ([email protected]) or Anne Dempsey ([email protected]). 

On deck for 2024-2025 is Verified: How to think straight, get duped less, and make better decisions about what to believe online, by Mike Caulfield and Sam Wineburg. Do you have an idea for a great future Community Read? Help the FYE Committee by completing this survey! Please reach out to the Faculty Senate First Year Experience Committee with any questions or ideas.

Our reading last year was All We Can Save, 60 essays and poems related to the climate crisis, edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson. The anthology is part of the All We Can Save Project. In 2021-2022 we read William D. Lopez's Separated: Family and Community in the Aftermath of an Immigration Raid, which traces economic, social, psychological, health, and educational fallout from a 2013 ICE raid in Washtenaw County, Michigan. Dr. Lopez is assistant professor at the UM School of Public Health. 

The 2020-2021 book was How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi. Faculty members created videos on book chapters for class use, now on the UM YouTube playlist, and the Mardigian Library listed antiracism resources. In 2019-2020, we read Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, on the woman whose famed HeLa cells underlie countless medical breakthroughs.