2022 Great Reads from Great Places

Every year since 2002, the Ohio Center for the Book has the honor of selecting a book to represent our state in the national Great Reads from Great Places initiative. Those titles are highlighted at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC, every year, as well as being placed on the permanent list of honoree titles.

In the past, the selection was limited to a book written for children or young adults. However, this year the decision was made to also include titles written for adults to celebrate readers of all ages. With the inclusion of both youth and adult selections, we are proud to announce the following titles chosen to represent Ohio for the 2022 Great Reads from Great Places.

2022 Youth Selection

Jenny Mei is Sad book cover

Tracy Subisak, Jenny Mei is Sad

(Little, Brown Books For Young Readers, 2021)

Some of the reasons Jenny Mei is Sad was chosen include:

  • Tracy Subisak was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Subisak is both author and illustrator of the book.
  • With the 2021 and 2020 selections being teen or middle school titles, Tracy’s book highlights a title for younger readers.
  • The book has received a number of accolades including being selected as the 2022 Floyd’s Pick winner by the Choose to Read Ohio Advisory Council and being named a 2022 Oregon Book Award Finalist!
  • Her book shines an age-appropriate light on the importance of mental health, of dealing with difficult emotions, and of the bonds of friendship. All essential themes for any age.

“Thank you so much for selecting Jenny Mei Is Sad for the Great Reads for Great Places initiative for Ohio!” Tracy said. “What an honor!!”

Information about Tracy Subisak and her work is available at her website: http://tracysubisak.com.

2022 Adult Selection

John “Derf” Backderf, Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio

(Abrams ComicArts, 2020)

Some of the reasons Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio was chosen include:

  • Derf Backderf was born and raised in Ohio, growing up in Richfield (near Akron) and currently living in Cleveland.
  • The book provides an invaluable and meticulously-researched account of a pivotal event in American history that took place in our state.
  • The book epitomizes the ability of comics to serve as a
    medium for telling nonfiction stories.
  • In addition to other well-deserved accolades, Kent State was chosen as a 2023-2024 Choose to Read Ohio honoree.
  • The book also serves as a cautionary tale for contemporary times in its documentation of the tragic hazards of misinformation, miscommunication, and misunderstanding.

“I’m incredibly pleased to receive this honor,” Derf said. “The Kent State tragedy is a story I’ve carried with me my whole life. When I started this project, I was unsure that a story from a half century ago would still resonate with readers in 2022. I’m grateful that it has. I’m also humbled to be representing comics, the art form I love. Thank you to the Ohio Center for the Book.”

Information about Derf and his work is available at his website: derfcity.com.

Jenny Mei is Sad and Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio take their place in the roster of titles representing the Buckeye State from 2002 to the present as part of Great Reads from Great Places. Check out all the selections at the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book website.

(Image courtesy of Library of Congress Center for the Book)