By Jon King /

An online event later this month will feature a discussion with the pediatrician many people credit with helping expose the Flint water crisis.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha’s “What the Eyes Don’t See,” is an account of her discovery that Flint’s children were being poisoned by lead from the city’s drinking water. She was one of the first to question if lead was leaching from the city’s water pipes after an emergency manager switched the city’s water supply to the Flint River in 2014. The book was selected as Michigan Humanities’ choice for the 2019-20 Great Michigan Read, which aims to bridge communities around a common conversation. Area residents will have two opportunities to participate in the Great Michigan Read through the Howell Carnegie District Library.

The monthly online Social Justice Book Club led by Library Director Holly Ward Lamb will discuss “What the Eyes Don’t See” on Thursday, January 21st at 7pm. A free copy of the book and reader’s guide are available for each participating registrant to pick up through the Library’s curbside service.

Then on Tuesday, January 26th, the library is honored to host a live virtual conversation with Dr. Hanna-Attisha and WHMI News Director Jon King. That conversation will start at 7pm and include a Q&A session with registered participants. Questions for Dr. Hanna-Attisha can also be submitted prior to the program. Registration for both events is now open on the Library’s website,

Shelly Hendrick Kasprzycki, Michigan Humanities president and CEO, says she hopes “What the Eyes Don’t See” will encourage Michigan citizens statewide to read, discuss, and learn from the book, and that it will increase opportunities for civil discourse on topics ranging from water quality and access to environmental injustice and the intersection of humanities and science. “Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha’s willingness to fight for children and tirelessly advocate for change in and beyond Michigan will have readers cheering as she follows the science and her young patients’ experiences to uncover one of the state’s worst public health catastrophes,” Kasprzycki said.

Hanna-Attisha is the founder and director of the Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, an innovative and model public health program in Flint. Currently an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Human Development and a C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health at Michigan State University, she has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for her role in uncovering the Flint water crisis and leading recovery efforts. She also is committed to increasing literacy in Flint and elsewhere.

Hanna-Attisha said she was honored to have “What the Eyes Don’t See” chosen for the 2019-20 Great Michigan Read, and said the concepts of place and history are critically important to her book. “From the resistance of the Flint sit-down strikers to the reign of demagogue Charles Coughlin, Michigan’s DNA is full of history – some good and some bad and some shared and some hidden – which we must understand in order to address our present-day challenges,” said Hanna-Attisha. “Like so many Michiganders, my story is an immigrant story. It was critical to share this part of the story in this memoir because it informs how I see the world and the work that I am privileged to do.”

The 2019-20 Great Michigan Read is presented by Michigan Humanities and supported by national, statewide, and local partners, including the National Endowment for the Humanities and The Meijer Foundation.