‘The Book of Harlan’ by Bernice McFadden

“The Book of Harlan” by Bernice L. McFadden is Willard Library’s 2022 Battle Creek Reads book.

In its 17th year, Battle Creek Reads encourages the entire community to read one book and then hear the author talk about it. McFadden will speak about the book and her writing on April 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriot, 12891 Harper Village Drive.

In voting last summer, library guests selected “Courage: Finding Comfort in Discomfort” as the 2022 Battle Creek Reads’ theme.

The historical novel centers on Harlan, an African American musician during the 1940s, as he travels to Paris during World War II with his bandmate. Both are held in internment camps during the Nazi occupation.

“I'm excited that a popular story is being told differently from the World War II stories that are expected. There is not a lot of African American WWII fiction out there,” Reference Librarian Jade Woodridge said. “I think the theme speaks to people discovering their resilience during the ongoing pandemic. While not about a health crisis, ‘The Book of Harlan’ tells the story of personal triumph and overcoming the challenges life throws at you."

“The Book of Harlan” was a winner of a 2017 American Book Award and the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction.

The book is available in print and ebook from Hoopla and Libby.

The library plans related programs including genealogy and history echoing the book’s themes and will offer Book Club in a Bag kits with book discussion guides.

Questions or Suggestions:
Contact librarian Jade Woodridge at 269-968-8166, ext. 504, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to send her an email.

Past Selections

2021 - "A Woman is No Man" by Etaf Rum
          "The Distance Between Us" by Reyna Grande
2020 - "A Dog Called Hope" by Jason Morgan
2019 - "The Long Haul" by Finn Murphy;
           "This is Where You Belong" by Melody Warnick
2018 - "South of Superior" by Ellen Airgood
2017 - "The Life We Bury" by Allen Eskens
           "Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker" by Jennifer Chiaverini
2016 - "Safe from the Sea" by Peter Geye
            "Delicious!" by Ruth Reichl
2015 - "A Secret Gift" by Ted Gup
          "Orphan Train" by Christina Baker Kline 
2014 - "The Leisure Seeker" by Michael Zadoorian
           "An Invisible Thread" by Laura Schroff
2013 - "Eighty-Dollar Champion" by Elizabeth Letts
           "The Day the World Came to Town" by Jim DeFede
           "Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern
           "The Art of Fielding" by Chad Harbach
2012 - "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" by Helen Simonson
           "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" by Jamie Ford
2011 - "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein
2010 - "The Soloist" by Steve Lopez
2009 - "How Starbucks Saved My Life" by Michael Gates Gill
2008 - "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls
2007 - "Peace Like a River" by Leif Enger
2006 - "Pay it Forward" by Catherine Ryan Hyde