CSU, Chico News

Migrant Experience Is Subject for 2014-15 Book in Common

Date: 05-09-2014

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico President Paul Zingg and Butte College President Kimberly Perry jointly announced today that the Book in Common for Academic Year 2014-15 will be “The Distance Between Us”by Reyna Grande.

“We are pleased to join together to make this announcement,” said Zingg and Perry. “Since the Book in Common became a joint project of our campuses, the City of Chico and County of Butte, we have been gratified at the community’s enthusiastic response to the books and the conversations that these books spark.”

“The Distance Between Us”is a highly acclaimed memoir about the experience of migrants from Mexico to the United States. It movingly portrays the conditions in Mexico that push people to risk all to get to “el Otro Lado” (“the Other Side”), including the effects on those left behind and those who make the journey.

The book is an intensely personal story that, at the same time, illustrates the sacrifices, costs and traumas that accompanies the difficult decision to emigrate. “The Distance Between Us”was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and named one of the best books of 2012 by numerous critics.

“Migration from Mexico to the United States is not a new issue,” said Zingg, “but it is often misunderstood. ‘The Distance Between Us’puts a human face on the statistics that drive policy debates. At times we forget that there are lives in the balance behind the numbers in the media.”

“The Distance Between Us”also chronicles the critical importance of access to higher education as a motor of social and economic mobility. “Both Butte College and Chico State share a mission of access to college for all Californians,” said Perry. “The author’s experience with community college as a means to escape poverty is the story of so many of our students at Butte College and Chico State alike.”

The Book in Common is a shared community read designed to promote discussion and understanding of important issues facing the broader community. “The Book in Common aims to create a community of readers and engender the kinds of dialogue that mark a healthy civic culture,” said Zingg.

“We feel that students, staff, faculty and supporters of Butte College will benefit from reading this book and help create a shared sense of purpose in our community,” said Perry.

The Book in Common is chosen each year by a group of faculty and staff and community members. Past community reads include “The Soloist” by Steve Lopez; “Unquenchable” by Robert Glennon; and the current Book in Common, “The Yellow Birds” by Kevin Powers.

As in past years, Butte College; CSU, Chico; the city; and the county have sponsored a variety of events–panel discussions, lectures and other public events–in celebration of the Book in Common. Author visits are also often part of the Book in Common, and Grande will be invited to speak in Chico during the coming academic year.

For more information on the Book in Common, go to www.csuchico.edu/bic.