uci great big read

Join us to #ActForInclusion by exploring ideas that support diverse identities, challenge our perspectives, and connect us as a community of readers

Join us at UCI Great Big Read Events!


Becoming (2018) by Michelle Obama

Signs Preceding the End of the World (2015) by Yuri Herrera
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing a powerful advocacy for women.

NOTE: Readers are asked to purchase on own.
Yuri Herrera explores the crossings and translations people make in their minds and language as they move from one country to another, especially when there's no going back. Free links to UCI members (provided when you register for UCI GBR or when you RSVP for upcoming events).


Are you interested to be a part of the UCI Great Big Read community project? Share brief passages from your favorite stories to provide a treasure trove of read aloud samples for our community school partner.  Please submit your contact information and OIE will outreach to you during December 2020-January 2021.

Volunteer at: https://uciadvance.wufoo.com/forms/q2bqf9y1m8ppzr/

Thank you in advance!





February 11

12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.

UCI Great Big Book Club

Examining authoring your life and themes in Becoming by Michelle Obama.

A Conversation with Professor Jessica Millward, Department of History, and Assistant Vice Chancellor Marguerite Bonous-Hammarth, Office of Inclusive Excellence

RSVP to receive links to this free and public virtual event.

12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.

Coming Soon – DYI Zine Making – Presented by Kelsey Brown, UCI Libraries

Join a fun-worthy virtual event to learn about the history of zines and to make your own inspired by current book: Becoming.

SUPPLIES NEEDED – have the following supplies ready to fully enjoy this session:

  • 8 1/2 x 11 paper
  • pen or pencil
  • scissors
  • glue
  • Fun extras: markers, magazines or newspapers, stickers, patterned paper, fabric, washi tape, photos

View zine making with Derek Quezada, UCI Libraries


Kindred by Octavia Butler (1979; 2004)

A classic time travel novel about a heroine caught between two worlds

Events included:

June 24 Kindred as a Graphic Novel presented by Research Librarian Richard Minkyu Cho, UCI Libraries

July 2 Book Club presented by Reference Department Head Cynthia Johnson, Grunigen Medical Library

July 9 Special Event with Nnedi Okorafor – A recipient of Hugo and Nebula Awards, Dr. Okorafor won the prestigious Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature for her debut novel, Zahrah the Windseeker, and has written comics for Marvel that include Black Panther: Long Live the King, and Wakanda Forever. During her conversation with UCI Professor John Murillo III, she discussed themes from Octavia Butler’s Kindred and her co-written adaptation of Butler’s Wild Seed, as well as her masterful and stirring works that include the Binti trilogy, and Who Fears Death (developed as an HBO series).

Afterlife by Julia Alvarez (2020)

An immigrant writer, recently widowed, examines hope

Events included:

July 23 Book Club presented by Chancellor’s Professor Jonathan Alexander (Department of English)

August 6 Special Event with Julia Alvarez – The author of Afterlife and several novels, including How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, discussed her stirring new masterpiece with UCI Professor Anita Casavantes Bradford.  Alvarez is a recipient of a National Medal of Art, a Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature for her vivid depictions of identity, family, hope, and navigating cultural divides.

There There by Tommy Orange (2018)

Twelve characters from Native communities travel to a Big Oakland Powwow.

Events included:

November 12 Book Club presented by Richard Cho (UCI Libraries) and Library Interns Kayla Ettinger and Imelda Rodriguez

November 16 Zine Making presented by Kelsey Brown (UCI Libraries)

December 3 Special Event with Tommy Orange – The author of There There discussed book themes that reflected on the current state of affairs, facilitated by UCI Professor Alicia Carroll (Department of Comparative Literature).  Orange received the 2019 American Book Award and was finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in fiction.  He is a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma and resides in California.

The UCI Great Big Read is a partnership initiative hosted by the Office of Inclusive Excellence, UCI Libraries, and Division of Student Affairs to foster engagement and social solidarity during a time when we may need to practice physical distancing.

This program is free and open to UCI students, faculty, staff, and community members.

UCI Students, Staff, and Faculty:

Register at the UCI Registration tab or here to access free reading links to our top-voted books.

Community Members:

Submit a registration for notifications about upcoming events and read along with your own books.

Tools For You!

Read the virtual Library Guide

View events at: UCI Great Big Read webpage.

UCI Great Big Read is brought to you by UCI Office of Inclusive Excellence, UCI Student Affairs, and UCI Libraries