2022 Michigan Notable Books
The Library of Michigan is pleased to announce the 2022 Michigan Notable Books list. Each year, the Michigan Notable Book list features 20 books, published during the previous calendar year, which are about or set in Michigan, or written by a Michigan author. Selections include a variety of genres, both fiction and nonfiction, that appeal to many audiences and explore topics and issues close to the hearts of Michigan residents.
This year’s list continues the tradition of reflecting the rich stories and culture of our state by exploring the fascinating life of Mendon’s Madame Marantette; celebrating the generations of Pewabic artists in Detroit; demonstrating the struggles to protect one’s Ojibwe community; capturing the lifelong journey to better know that place we call “Up North”; and more.
List of 2022 Michigan Notable Books
Ancestor Approved: intertribal stories for kids edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith – Heartdrum
A collection of intersecting stories and poems set at an Ann Arbor powwow that bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride. In a high school gym full of color and song, Native families from tribal nations within the borders of the U.S. and Canada dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. They are the heroes of their own stories.
Call Me Athena, Girl from Detroit: A Novel in Verse by Colby Cedar Smith – Andrews McMeel Publishing
Written from the perspective of three very different narrators, this enchanting multi-generational novel in verse follows Mary, the American-born daughter of Greek and French immigrants living in Detroit in the 1930s, as she struggles for independence, equality, and identity.
The Cut by John Wemlinger – Mission Point Press
Alvin Price and Lydia Cockrum literally bump into one another in the summer of 1870 and fall in love. Coming from vastly different backgrounds, their relationship encounters struggle amid the feuding farmers and powerful lumber industry in Manistee, Michigan. Additionally, a terrible storm on October 8, 1871 will sweep across the upper Midwest, setting off fires in Chicago and dozens of other cities, including Manistee. Will their love endure?
Day of Days: A Novel by John Smolens – Michigan State University Press
Decades after experiencing the Bath school bombing, survivor Beatrice Marie Turcott, recalls the spring of 1927 and how this haunting experience leads her to the conviction that one does not survive the present without reconciling hard truths about the past.
Dead of Winter by Stephen Mack Jones – Soho Press, Inc.
Detroit ex-cop August Snow must fight for both his life and the soul of Mexicantown itself when a local business owner is targeted by an anonymous entity that is linked to a dangerous net of ruthless billionaire developers.
The Dockporter: A Mackinac Island Novel by Dave McVeigh and Jim Bolone – Independently Published
It’s the summer of 1989. Jack McGuinn is a dockporter, transporting tourists’ luggage, piled high in the basket of his bike on Mackinac Island, Michigan. He’s got the season wired tight: a family cottage on the bluff, a dream job, and a loyal crew of hell-raising, tip-hustling buddies. When his old friend-turned bitter rival challenges him to ride a record-setting load, he takes the bet and soon realizes he’s not just carrying suitcases, he’s carrying the future of the island, which is about to be paved over for profit.
Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny – Alfred A. Knopf
Jane moves to a small town in northern Michigan to teach second grade and immediately falls in love with Duncan, a charming if not entirely reliable woodworker who she soon finds has been with nearly every woman in Boyne City. Follow Jane through the course of several years as she navigates the humor and disaster of a most unconventional relationship, all while trying to find a deeper kind of happiness.
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley – Henry Holt and Company
Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine of Sault Ste. Marie, who is part Ojibwe, defers attending the University of Michigan to care for her mother and reluctantly becomes involved in the investigation of a series of drug-related deaths.
From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial That Galvanized the Asian American Movement by Paula Yoo – Norton Young Readers
An engaging and well-researched non-fiction about the 1982 murder of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American man, beaten to death in Detroit at the hands of two white men, and the lenient sentence given to those who killed him. This murder and trial galvanized Asian-Americans to call for hate crime reforms.
Getting to the Heart of the Matter: My 36 Years in the Senate by Senator Carl Levin, written with Linda Gustitus – Wayne State University Press
Representing Michigan for 36 years in the U.S. Senate, Carl Levin, the longest-serving U.S. senator in Michigan history, was known for his dogged pursuit of the truth, his commitment to holding government accountable, and his basic decency. Follow Levin’s story – from his early days in Detroit as the son of a respected lawyer to the capstone of his career as chair of both the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
Long Road to the Circus by Betsy Bird, illustrated by David Small – Knopf Books for Young Readers
Twelve-year-old Suzy Bowles dreams of life outside the small town of Burr Oak, Michigan, but when she stumbles on the opportunity to learn ostrich riding with the infamous Madame Marantette, her obligations to her family on the farm threaten to derail her dreams of a bigger life.
Miles from Motown by Lisa Sukenic – Fitzroy Books
After having abruptly moved from her beloved Detroit neighborhood to an unfamiliar suburb outside of the city, Georgia Johnson secretly submits an entry to a poetry contest for only Detroit residents using her Aunt Birdie’s address. Georgia tries to settle into her new life but misses both her older brother deployed in Vietnam and everything that was familiar, all while trying to intercept the contest announcement from her aunt’s mailbox.
Never Saw You Coming by Erin Hahn – Wednesday Books
In this powerful story about forgiveness and love, 18-year-old Meg Hennessey travels north to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in order to meet the family she never knew existed to find answers and instead falls for Micha Allen, who is dealing with his own traumatic past.
The Other Me by Sarah Zachrich Jeng – Berkley
This unpredictable sci-fi thriller begins when a failed artist accidentally opens a door to an alternate reality where she never pursued her dreams and must uncover the forces behind the switch before time runs out.
Pewabic Pottery: The American Arts & Crafts Movement Expressed in Clay by Thomas W. Brunk, foreword by Martin Eidelberg – Michigan State University Press
Founded in Detroit at the turn of the 20th century, this chronological history of Pewabic work focuses primarily on the pottery as operated by its founders Mary Chase Perry and Horace James Caulkins, and then goes up through the beginning of the Pewabic Society Inc. in 1979. It offers a fascinating, in-depth exploration of the various aspects of the history of Pewabic Pottery, from the personal lives of its founders and prominent potters to discussions of tiles and glazes and finally to Pewabic Pottery’s place at Michigan State University.
Private Love, Public School: Gay Teacher Under Fire by Christine A. Yared – Penning History Press
Gerry Crane was a talented high school music teacher, loved by students and parents, and lauded as one of the best teachers at his school. Everything changed once word spread that he had married a man. Follow the events of the true story of what happened when members of a midwestern community demanded that their religious beliefs be imposed on a public school-and the school followed suit.
Standpipe: Delivering Water in Flint by David Hardin – Belt Publishing
A memoir of the author’s work as a Red Cross volunteer delivering emergency water to residents of Flint, Michigan, Standpipe sets the struggles of a city in crisis against the author’s personal journey as his mother declines into dementia and eventual death. The book is an intimate look at one man’s engagement with both civic and familial trauma.
Tin Camp Road by Ellen Airgood – Riverhead Books
In a novel set against the wide-open beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a young single mother and her 10-year-old daughter stand up to the trials of rural poverty and find the community they need in order to survive.
Trout Water: A Year on the AuSable by Josh Greenberg – Melville House
At the beginning of trout fishing season, Josh Greenberg-proprietor of a fishing tackle store on America’s most famous trout-fishing stream, the Au Sable River-is struggling to cope with the slow death of a close friend. Over the course of the fishing season, he’ll revisit that relationship and its importance to him as he takes solace, and maybe something more, from fishing.
Up North in Michigan: A Portrait of Place in Four Seasons by Jerry Dennis – University of Michigan Press
A collection of essays that capture a lifelong journey to better know northern Michigan by exploring it in every season, in every kind of weather, on foot, on bicycle, in canoes and cars. The essays are more than an homage to a particular region, its people, and its natural wonders. They are a reflection on the “Up North” that can only be experienced through your feet and fingertips, through your ears, mouth, and nose-the Up North that makes its way into your bones as surely as sand makes its way into wood grain.
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