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Immigration Book Discussions

Performance Information

Throughout the 2018/19 season, Washington Performing Arts is collaborating with arts, cultural heritage, education, and literary partners throughout D.C. to facilitate a multi-disciplinary dialogue around the important contributions and experiences of Latinx immigrants in the United States. Musical performances, visual art displays, panel discussions, education programs, and a book discussion series together showcase the wide range of journeys of identity and place experienced by our Latinx neighbors.

The focal point is the March 17, 2019 premiere (via simulcast to Sidney Harman Hall) of Washington Performing Arts’ co-commission Dreamers, a new work for orchestra, soprano, and chorus by composer Jimmy López and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz. Dreamers tells the story of several so-called “dreamers,” immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and whose legal status is in jeopardy because their parents arrived in the U.S. undocumented. The fictional story is based on true testimonies that Cuban-American Cruz and Peruvian-American López have collected from immigrants who have come to the U.S. in search of a better life.

The Immigration Book Discussion Series builds on these themes by facilitating community dialogues about Latinx immigration to the United States as represented in fiction and non-fiction work. The conversations will be led by Lupita Aquino—better known as “Lupita Reads”, herself a Mexican immigrant and is the co-founder and co-moderator for LIT on H St Book Club, hosted at Solid State Books.

Discussion 1: The House of Broken Angels (Luis Alberto Urrea)
Tue, Mar 5, 7pm • Politics & Prose, Union Market

“A powerful rendering of a Mexican-American family that is also an American family.” – New York Times Book Review

National best-seller The House of Broken Angels tells the story of the De La Cruz family, whose patriarch Miguel Angel, gathers his extended family in San Diego to celebrate what might be his last birthday. The experiences, triumphs, and challenges of a multi-generational Mexican-American immigrant family are at the heart of this story, which is filled with love, wit, and brutal honesty. Mexican-American author Luis Alberto Urrea is a best-selling author of novels and short stories. His nonfiction work "The Devil’s Highway" was Pulitzer Prize finalist and he has won the Lannan Literary Award and a 2017 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. Free and open to the public.

Borrow from DC Public Library • Purchase from a local Indie (Indiebound)

Discussion 2: The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border (Francisco Cantú)
Tue, Apr 30, 7pm • Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Library

“A must-read for anyone who thinks ‘build a wall’ is the answer to anything.” – Esquire

Francisco Cantú’s The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border was named a Top 10 Book of 2018 by NPR and the Washington Post, was shortlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal of Excellence, and was a finalist for the National Book Critic Circle’s John Leonard Prize. In the book he recounts the complexity of being a child of a Mexican immigrant and serving with U.S. Border Patrol. He witnesses the harsh conditions in which asylum-seekers navigate the border and is deeply affected by the role of the border in his own life and family origins. Free and open to the public; registration encouraged. 

Borrow from DC Public Library • Purchase from a local Indie (Indiebound) 

Discussion 3: Across a Hundred Mountains (Reyna Grande)
Tue, May 7, 7pm • Solid State Books

"Elegantly written…a timely and riveting read.” – People

Across a Hundred Mountains by Rena Grande is the winner of a 2007 American Book Award. The novel tells the story of a girl who journeys from her hometown in Mexico to the United States in search of her father. She finds strength in meeting other immigrants during her trek and is courageous in dire circumstances that vividly portrays contemporary immigration issues. Grande is an award-winning author, speaker, and educator. As a girl, she crossed the U.S.-Mexico border to join her family in Los Angeles. Suggested secondary title: A Dream Called HomeFree and open to the public; registration encouraged.

Borrow from DC Public Library • Purchase from a local Indie (Indiebound) 

Co-presented by DC Public Library, Politics & Prose, Solid State Books, Lupita Reads, and Mars Arts D.C., a project of Mars, Incorporated and Washington Performing Arts, generously supported by Jacqueline Badger Mars. Made possible in part through the generous support of Tom Gallagher, in honor of Turnaround Inc.; Events DC; Fred and Lucia Hill; and Gary and Silvia Yacoubian.