One Book, One Community Events Explore the Immigrant Experience

Christina Henríquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans
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Christina Henríquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Members of the University of Arkansas and Northwest Arkansas community are currently reading The Book of Unknown Americans by Christina Henríquez, this year’s One Book, One Community selection. The acclaimed novel tells the stories of Latino immigrants, living legally in Delaware, and of their family lives, aspirations, struggles, successes and failures – their lives revealing the dreams and the dangers of the immigrant experience.

The book and its themes are particularly timely as the national debate continues over immigration policy and the DACA program -- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

To expand on the local discussion, the One Book, One Community committee is hosting two events this month.

On Thursday and Friday, Oct. 19 and 20, the Latin/x Youth Theatre Project will perform an expanded, encore production of its play, FOLLOW ME@TIO SAM. The play is a one hour devised theatre piece that tells the stories of a group of young writers and activists in Springdale who, when approached by a novice Latino politician seeking their support, unpack issues related to community and ethnic identity in response to the thorny question, "Where am I from?" The material is based on the experiences of the members of the theatre project. At each performance, audience members are invited to voice their responses to the themes and issues raised.

The Oct. 19 performance will be at 7 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, on the corner of East Avenue and Dickson Street in Fayetteville. On Oct. 20 it will be held in the Fay Jones School of Architecture Auditorium on the U of A campus.

Both performances are free and open to the public.

A second event, a panel discussion on “The Impact of Dreamers in Northwest Arkansas” will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24 in the Arkansas Union Theatre. The panelists include Mireya Reith, co-founder and executive director of the Arkansas United Community Coalition; Juan Bustamante, assistant professor of sociology and Latin American and Latino Studies at the U of A; Christina Pollard, visiting associated professor of law, U of A School of Law; and DACA advocate Ana Aguayo. A video created by students in the School of Journalism will also be shown during the program.

Christina Henríquez will visit Northwest Arkansas to discuss her book as the final event of the One Book, One Community program. She will give a free public lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, in Hillside Auditorium on campus, and will meet with members of area book clubs at the Fayetteville Public Library for a luncheon on Friday, Nov. 3.


David Jolliffe, Co-Chair
One Book, One Community

Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
University Relations


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