Albion's Big Read is a month-long community reading initiative that aims to engage children, teens, and adults through shared reading experiences. We have two primary goals: value and empower youth and provide opportunities for diverse groups to come together and interact in meaningful ways

True Grit by Charles Portis

Albion’s 2017 Big Read title was “True Grit” by Charles Portis. The novel features Mattie Ross, a fiercely tenacious fourteen year-old, as she travels alongside U.S. Marshal, Rooster Cogburn, to avenge her father’s death in the old West. During their pursuit, the two develop an unlikely friendship and demonstrate resilience, spirit, and grit.

Meet the 2017 Team


Albion's Big Read Student Leaders are rising 8th, 9th, and 10th graders who call Albion home. Throughout October 2017, the following students independently led and facilitated community-wide book discussions. They are role models for their peers, neighbors, and the greater Albion community. We joyfully celebrate the open hearts and minds of the following 2017 Big Read Youth Leaders:
* denotes students who returned as Albion Big Read Leaders for another year

Aaliyah Roberts
Malena Solis
Ja'Kobe Steward
Fred Steward*
Ta'Jyanna Steward*
Belevia Stovall
A'Veion Washington*
Nashanti Weatherall
Jason Whetstone*
Niya Williams

Ta'Liyah Austin
Carl Bates*
Emmylou Roberts Christensen*
Ta'hlia Davis
Jamiyah Funderburg
Ivan Green
Za'Riah Kemp

Tyland Martin
Aja Metz
Marshall Nicholson

College Volunteers

Our summer training program would not be possible without the outstanding support, leadership, and commitment from volunteer student mentors at Albion College. The work our college mentors offer is entirely volunteer based. These students apply and interview for their role in Albion's Big Read, and we deeply value their hard work and dedication. We celebrate the leadership and commitment of the following 2017 college volunteers:

Emily Allison, Albion College Student

Richard Annorat, Albion College Student

Marley Guy, Albion College Student

Emily McCaleb, Albion College Student

Anna Moore, Albion College Student

Alex Tung, Albion College Student


We would like to wholeheartedly thank our generous supporters and donors. Albion's 2017 Big Read would not be possible without the support from these amazing organizations and individuals. Click the green text of the donors below to learn more.

Walk the Beat - Albion

Albion College English Department

Sandy and Paul Pimintel

Libby Roberts

Rosemary Smith Zander

St. Paul's United Methodist Church

Lubaway Masten & Company, Ltd.

Gerald and Eddie Williams

John and Kathryn Fitzsimmons

Conrad and Peggy Sindt

John and Susan Cease

Ed and Ginnie Edwardson

American Association of University Women (AAUW), Albion branch

The Guido A. and Elizabeth H. Binda Foundation

Cronin Foundation

Albion College

Marshall Community Foundation

John and Karen Vournakis

Barbara Weiskittel

Merck Foundation

Albion District Library

Arts Midwest

Franke Center for the Arts

Marshall Public Schools

Albion Community Foundation

Team 1 Plastics


Support finds its way to Albion's Big Read in a variety of ways. Our 2017 partners host events and lend their space and time throughout the Summer Youth Leadership Program and the month of October. Thank you, 2017 Partners!

Association of American University Women
(AAUW), Albion Branch

The Bohm Theater

City of Albion

Kids N Stuff Children's Museum

NAACP, Albion Branch

Schuler Arts

Sigma Tau Delta,
Albion College's English Honors Society

Sisters Influencing Society

Stirling Books and Brew

Albion College

Albion College Astronomy Club

Albion College Department of Anthropology & Sociology

Albion College Department of Art

Albion College Department of Ethnic Studies

Albion College Department of Political Science

Albion College's Black Student Alliance

Albion District Library

Albion Historical Society

Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., Psi Kappa Omega Chapter

2017 CommiTtee

In addition to local youth and college students, funders and partners, the generous efforts of Albion’s Big Read Committee, made up of college and community leaders, makes our program possible. The Committee chose the Big Read novel, True Grit, designed events and programming, collaborated with countless local organizations, and furthered the progress of the program overall. We would like to thank the following members of Albion's Big Read Committee for their irreplaceable support in 2017:

Kimberly Arndts, President of the Albion District Library Board and Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship at Albion College

Jamie Bernard, Head of Youth Services, Albion District Library

Harry Bonner, Executive Director, Kids at Hope and Substance Abuse Prevention Services

Laura Brownell, English teacher, Marshall High School

Nels Christensen, Associate Professor of English, Albion College

Madeline Drury, Assistant Director of Albion's Big Read

Mandy Dubiel, Director of Admissions, Albion College

Mae Ola Dunklin, Albion NAACP, Board of Trustees, Albion College, and retired Albion educator

Joni Parks,  Principal and Assistant Superintendent, Albion Community School

Jess Roberts, Director of Albion's Big Read and Professor of English, Albion College

Mary Slater, Owner, Albion Heritage Bed & Breakfast, member, Albion Sister City Committee, and secretary, Friends of the Bohm Theatre Board of Directors

Cindy Stanczak, Director of Albion District Library

Rhiki Swinton, Admissions Counselor, Albion College and Albion College Graduate, class of 2016

Keena Williams, Director of Intercultural Affairs and President's Special Adviser for Global Diversity, Albion College

News Stories

Albion's Big Read has a presence throughout local media outlets year round. Check out the links and photos below to read more about our 2017 Big Read Leaders and College Volunteers, local partnerships, and more. Stories are listed by date with the most recent publication at the top. Click the green text to open the links to the online articles.

The article below was featured in The Recorder, Albion's local newspaper. 

The article below was featured in The Recorder, Albion's local newspaper. 

AUGUST 24, 2017
Click below to read the Albion College article posted about Richard Annorat, one of our 2017 College Volunteers. 

Annorat Works To Mentor College Peers, Community Youth

JULY 2017
The article below was featured in The Recorder, Albion's local newspaper. 

JUNE 15, 2017
The article below was featured in The Recorder, Albion's local newspaper.