Tacoma Public Library and City of Tacoma’s Mayor Victoria Woodards are pleased to announce a virtual author visit with Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, author of Children of the Land, on Saturday, Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. via Zoom. The event is free and registration will open on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2020.
Tacoma Reads is a city-wide reading program that seeks to unite the community in dialogue around contemporary themes through reading a common text. The current Tacoma Reads cycle focuses on the experience of immigrants in the United States.
“I am excited to bring this talented author and engage in this dialogue at a time when it feels especially important to understand and value our neighbors,” said Mayor Woodards. “This is another way we can learn together safely during COVID-19 about the diversity of lived experiences across our nation and right here in Tacoma.”
New for this cycle of Tacoma Reads was the selection of three books for multiple age groups, instead of a single title meant for adults as in years past.
“We chose three title selections this year for three ages: adults, teens and young adults, and kids and families,” stated Library Director Kate Larsen. “Immigration affects generations of families, so it seems fitting to engage Tacoma readers of all ages with the themes of Tacoma Reads.”
Along with Marcelo Hernandez Castillo’s interview with Mayor Woodards on Saturday, Jan. 9, Tacoma Public Library has scheduled a variety of programs for all ages with community partners and guest artists throughout the months of December 2020 and January 2021.
Notably, Castillo will participate in a family event prior to his evening engagement on Saturday, Jan. 9, at noon titled Tacoma Reads: Dreamers Craft and Community Roundtable. The event is free and open for registration, and will feature Castillo reading the Tacoma Reads children’s book selection Dreamers by Yuyi Morales, along with a hosted craft and discussion.
The selected titles are as follows:
This unforgettable memoir from a prize-winning poet about growing up undocumented in the United States recounts the sorrows and joys of a family torn apart by draconian policies and chronicles one young man’s attempt to build a future in a nation that denies his existence. Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is a poet, essayist, translator, and immigration advocate. His memoir Children of the Land (Harper Collins, 2020) is his most recent publication and explores the ideas of separation from deportation, trauma, and mobility between borders.
Castillo was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and immigrated at the age of five with his family to the California central valley. As an AB540 student, he earned his B.A. from Sacramento State University and was the first undocumented student to graduate from the Helen Zell Writers Program at the University of Michigan. His immigration case was used by the Supreme Court to justify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) under president Obama.
Castillo is a founding member of the Undocupoets campaign which successfully eliminated citizenship requirements from all major first poetry book prizes in the country and was recognized with the Barnes and Noble “Writers for Writers” award from Poets & Writers Magazine. Through a literary partnership with Amazon Publishing, he has helped to establish The Undocupoet Fellowship which provides funding to help curb the cost of submissions to journals and contests.
Teens/Young Adults: “Dear America: The Story of an Undocumented Citizen, Young Readers’ Edition” by Jose Antonio Vargas
Jose Antonio Vargas was only twelve years old when he was brought to the United States from the Philippines to live with his grandparents. He didn’t know it, but he was sent to the U.S. illegally. In this young readers’ adaptation of his adult memoir “Dear America,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and undocumented immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas tells his story, in light of the 12 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States.
Caldecott Honor artist and six-time Pura Belpré winner Yuyi Morales’s gorgeous picture book “Dreamers” is about making a home in a new place. Yuyi and her son Kelly’s passage was not easy, and Yuyi spoke no English whatsoever at the time. But together, they found an unexpected, unbelievable place: the public library. There, book by book, they untangled the language of this strange new land, and learned to make their home within it.
For more information on Tacoma Reads, visit tacomalibrary.org/tacomareads.