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KCHPL names ‘The Year We Left Home’ 2020 Howard County Reads book

Library announces 14 other contenders

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the year

The Kokomo-Howard County Public Library asked the community what their favorite book what, and after reviewing the votes, KHCPL named “The Year We Left Home” by Jean Thompson as the 2020 Howard County Reads book.


“The Year We Left Home” chronicles the happiness pursuits of the Eriksons from their 1970s coming-of-age to the near-present day, in a story told from revolving viewpoints. It begins in 1973 when the Erickson family of Grenada, Iowa, gathers for the wedding of their eldest daughter, Anita.


Even as they celebrate, the fault lines in the family emerge. The bride wants nothing more than to raise a family in her hometown, while her brother, Ryan, watches restlessly from the sidelines, planning his escape. He is joined by their cousin, Chip, an unpredictable, war-damaged loner who will show Ryan both the appeal and the perils of freedom. Torrie, the Ericksons' youngest daughter, is another rebel intent on escape, but the choices she makes will bring about a tragedy that leaves the entire family changed forever.


To keep everyone safe and to do our part to reduce the spread of COVID, this year’s author visit will be a virtual one. More details will be announced at a later date. KHCPL will be able to have the author visit thanks to One State/One Story. “The Year We Left Home” is presented by Indiana Humanities in partnership with the Indiana Center for the Book and the Indiana State Library.


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KHCPL has also selected 14 other books to round out the Top 15 Howard County Reads books.


  • How Dare the Sun Rise by Sandra Uwiringiyimana
  • True to You by Becky Wade
  • Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
  • Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center
  • They Called Us Enemy by George Takei
  • Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
  • Island of Sea Women by NAME
  • Gone Dead by Chanelle Benz
  • Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
  • Attucks: Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team that Awakened a City by Phillip Hoose
  • Bride Test by Helen Hoang
  • Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  • Inland byTéa Obreht


KHCPL will have three librarian-led book discussions, one at each location, of The Year We Left Home.

  • 10 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 9, at KHCPL Main
  • 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 10, at KHCPL Russiaville
  • 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 15, at KHCPL South


KHCPL is also planning a virtual author event and other programs. Follow us on social media for the latest library news about materials, events, and programs.