September 8th, 2014
One Maryland One Book is the only statewide community reading program which brings people from all over the state and different walks of life together to discuss a book. This year’s selection, inspired by the “American Dream,” is “The Distance Between Us” by Reyna Grande. The author vividly brings to life her tumultuous early years in this “compelling….unvarnished, resonant” (Book Page) story of a childhood spent torn between two parents and two countries.
As her parents make the dangerous trek across the Mexican border to “El Otro Lado” (The Other Side) in pursuit of the American dream, Reyna and her siblings are forced into the already overburdened household of their stern grandmother. When their mother at last returns, Reyna prepares for her own journey to “El Otro Lado” to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years, her long-absent father.
Not only has it been a pleasure to curl up on my front porch and read this book, I have also been inspired to read similar books, other memoirs that highlight immigrant journeys into America. “Of Plymouth Plantation” by William Bradford is one book that I picked up as a result of my new-found interest in immigration stories. Written by the leader of the Plymouth Colony, this book describes the journey of the pilgrims from 1608, across the Atlantic via the Mayflower, until 1647 when Plymouth had been settled.
While looking into this genre of literature, I have found books that range from the Mayflower, to Brooklyn, to the Wild West and each one touches on a different aspect of what it means to come to America. The Elkton Central Library currently has a display highlighting immigration stories, so come on in and check one out! And while you’re at it, sign up for one of our discussions of “The Distance Between Us.”
One Maryland, One Book copies are available at Cecil County Public Library branches and free to keep while supplies last. Pick up a book and join the Elkton Central Library book discussion Thursday, September 11 at 6:30 PM or the Perryville Branch Library on Thursday, September 25 at 7pm. Call your local branch to register.
One Maryland One Book, Maryland’s statewide reading and discussion program, is a program of the Maryland Humanities Council and is made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Maryland State Department of Education, BG&E, Wells Fargo, and M&T.
What’s your favorite American Dream story?
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