Each year Notre Dame selects a book to read and discuss as a community of students, faculty, alumnae and friends. Books are selected that explore and deepen a core theme in the Education for Justice and Leadership initiative and engage our community in academic scholarship and intentional dialogue that reflects our Catholic identity.

In addition to reading the book and discussing underlying themes throughout the integrated school program, students and the community meet the author during a campus visit in the fall.  In the past eleven years, through this ND Reads program, our school community has touched on many topics.  We have traveled to Africa to study the Rwandan genocide, journeyed with a young monk seal and learned about climate change from his perspective, explored how to stand in kinship with gang members, and memorialized the 60th anniversary of integrating schools in Little Rock, Arkansas, just to name a few.  

Join us for our ND Reads author visit - November 17, 2021. Register below.

2021-22 ND Reads Selection - World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction―a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us.

As a child, Nezhukumatathil called many places home: the grounds of a Kansas mental institution, where her Filipina mother was a doctor; the open skies and tall mountains of Arizona, where she hiked with her Indian father; and the chillier climes of western New York and Ohio. But no matter where she was transplanted―no matter how awkward the fit or forbidding the landscape―she was able to turn to our world’s fierce and funny creatures for guidance.

“What the peacock can do,” she tells us, “is remind you of a home you will run away from and run back to all your life.” The axolotl teaches us to smile, even in the face of unkindness; the touch-me-not plant shows us how to shake off unwanted advances; the narwhal demonstrates how to survive in hostile environments. Even in the strange and the unlovely, Nezhukumatathil finds beauty and kinship. For it is this way with wonder: it requires that we are curious enough to look past the distractions in order to fully appreciate the world’s gifts.
Warm, lyrical, and gorgeously illustrated by Fumi Nakamura, World of Wonders is a book of sustenance and joy. (Amazon Description)

About the Author - Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Aimee Nezhukumatathil (neh-ZOO / KOO-mah / tah-TILL) is the author of the New York Times best-selling illustrated collection of nature essays and Kirkus Prize finalist, WORLD OF WONDERS: IN PRAISE OF FIREFLIES, WHALE SHARKS, & OTHER ASTONISHMENTS (2020, Milkweed Editions), which was chosen as Barnes and Noble’s Book of the Year. She has four previous poetry collections: OCEANIC (Copper Canyon Press, 2018), LUCKY FISH (2011), AT THE DRIVE-IN VOLCANO (2007), and MIRACLE FRUIT (2003), the last three from Tupelo Press.  Her most recent chapbook is LACE & PYRITE, a collaboration of epistolary garden poems with the poet Ross Gay. Her writing appears twice in the Best American Poetry Series, The New York Times Magazine, ESPN, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, and Tin House.

Honors include a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pushcart Prize, a Mississippi Arts Council grant, and being named a Guggenheim Fellow in poetry. In 2021, she became the first-ever poetry editor for SIERRA magazine, the story-telling arm of The Sierra Club. She is professor of English and Creative Writing in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program.

2020/21

A Place for Us
by Fatima Farheen Mirza 

2019/20

The Color of Law
by Richard Rothstein
Reaching Out
by Francisco Jimenez

2018/19

The Monk of Mokha
by Dave Eggers

2017/18

Lessons From Little Rock
by Terrence Roberts

2016/17

Stealing Buddha's Dinner
by Bich Minh Nguyen

2015/16

The Odyssey of KP2: An Orphan Seal and  Marine Biologist's Fight to Save a Species
by Terrie M. Williams

2014/15

La Verdad
by Mary Jo Ignoffo & Lucia Cerna

2013/14

Tattoos on the Heart
by Gregory Boyle, S.J.

2012/13

I'm Not Leaving
by Carl Wilkins

2011/12

Enrique's Journey
by Sonia Nazario

2010/11

A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini

2009/10

The Distant Land of My Fathers
by Bo Caldwell

2008/09

Funny in Farsi
by Firoozeh Dumas

2007/08

Three Cups of Tea
by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin