The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez was the CommunityREAD 2016 book. The Book of Unknown Americans is a novel of hopes and dreams, guilt and love—a book that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be American.
Cristina Henríquez is the author of Come Together, Fall Apart, a collection of stories, The World in Half, and most recently The Book of Unknown Americans —a dazzling page-turner about a family’s hopes for their new life in America. The Book of Unknown Americans is one of the New York Times’ Notable Books of 2014 and made it onto many other Best of 2014 Book lists, including The Washington Post, NPR, among others.
In her lectures, Cristina Henríquez, who grew up half-American, half-Panamanian, speaks about identity and addresses common narratives about immigration. A gifted writer with a great talent for creating intimate and authentic character portraits, Henríquez also speaks to aspiring writers about the writer’s creative and technical process.
The hardships and legal battles of immigration are in the headlines every day, yet the nitty-gritty, humor, and heart behind them have rarely been brought to the page. In writing The Book of Unknown Americans Cristina Henríquez was inspired her father’s Panamà-to-U.S. immigration story and other experiences of real people in Delaware, where she grew up. The novel, which has been called, “a flawlessly written book about immigration,” brings to life the varied human stories behind the ongoing debate about immigration through the eyes of characters from all over Latin America.
Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere and she has been a guest on National Public Radio. She earned her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and currently teaches at Northwestern University. For more information on this Speaker, please visit www.prhspeakers.com.
Community READ History
Community READ was started in March 2003 as a way to celebrate the Community Foundation’s ten-year anniversary, bring attention to the fact that illiteracy is an issue in Findlay and Hancock County and help promote the HancockREADS endowment fund. Local residents were asked to read and discuss a book and its related themes with friends and family during March of each year. Over the years, selected adult and children’s books have included:
Previous CommunityREAD Selection
In December 2011, The Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation approached the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library about assuming the administration of CommunityREAD in 2013 with the understanding that the Community Foundation would continue to support CommunityREAD through the grant process. In January 2012, the library Board of Trustees approved the library becoming the program administrator.