American Dirt (Oprah's Book Club) by Jeanine CumminsLydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. Even though she knows they'll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy--two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is thejefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia's husband's tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same. Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves ridingla bestia--trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier's reach doesn't extend. As they join the countless people trying to reachel norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to? American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times. Already being hailed as "aGrapes of Wrath for our times" and "a new American classic," Jeanine Cummins'sAmerican Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.
Call Number: F CUM
Publication Date: 2020-01-21
Beautiful Country by Qian Julie WangThe moving story of an undocumented child living in poverty in the richest country in the world--an incandescent debut from an astonishing new talent "Heartrending, unvarnished, and powerfully courageous, this account of growing up undocumented in America will never leave you." --Gish Jen, author of The Resisters In Chinese, the word for America, Mei Guo, translates directly to "beautiful country." Yet when seven-year-old Qian arrives in New York City in 1994 full of curiosity, she is overwhelmed by crushing fear and scarcity. In China, Qian's parents were professors; in America, her family is "illegal" and it will require all the determination and small joys they can muster to survive. In Chinatown, Qian's parents labor in sweatshops. Instead of laughing at her jokes, they fight constantly, taking out the stress of their new life on one another. Shunned by her classmates and teachers for her limited English, Qian takes refuge in the library and masters the language through books, coming to think of The Berenstain Bears as her first American friends. And where there is delight to be found, Qian relishes it: her first bite of gloriously greasy pizza, weekly "shopping days," when Qian finds small treasures in the trash lining Brooklyn's streets, and a magical Christmas visit to Rockefeller Center--confirmation that the New York City she saw in movies does exist after all. But then Qian's headstrong Ma Ma collapses, revealing an illness that she has kept secret for months for fear of the cost and scrutiny of a doctor's visit. As Ba Ba retreats further inward, Qian has little to hold onto beyond his constant refrain: Whatever happens, say that you were born here, that you've always lived here. Inhabiting her childhood perspective with exquisite lyric clarity and unforgettable charm and strength, Qian Julie Wang has penned an essential American story about a family fracturing under the weight of invisibility, and a girl coming of age in the shadows, who never stops seeking the light.
Call Number: B WANG
Publication Date: 2021-09-07
Broke by Jodie Adams Kirshner; Michael Eric Dyson (Foreword by)"Essential...in showcasing people who are persistent, clever, flawed, loving, struggling and full of contradictions,Broke affirms why it's worth solving the hardest problems in our most challenging cities in the first place. " --Anna Clark, The New York Times "Through in-depth reporting of structural inequality as it affects real people in Detroit, Jodie Adams Kirshner'sBroke examines one side of the economic divide in America" --Salon "WhatBroke really tells us is how systems of government, law and finance can crush even the hardiest of boot-strap pullers." --Brian Alexander, author of Glass House A galvanizing, narrative account of a city's bankruptcy and its aftermath told throughthe lives of seven valiantly struggling Detroiters Bankruptcy and the austerity it represents have become a common "solution" for struggling American cities. What do the spending cuts and limited resources do to the lives of city residents? InBroke, Jodie Adams Kirshner follows seven Detroiters as they navigate life during and after their city's bankruptcy. Reggie loses his savings trying to make a habitable home for his family. Cindy fights drug use, prostitution, and dumping on her block. Lola commutes two hours a day to her suburban job. For them, financial issues are mired within the larger ramifications of poor urban policies, restorative negligence on the state and federal level and--even before the decision to declare Detroit bankrupt in 2013--the root causes of a city's fiscal demise. Like Matthew Desmond's Evicted,Broke looks at what municipal distress means, not just on paper but in practical--and personal--terms. More than 40 percent of Detroit's 700,000 residents fall below the poverty line. Post-bankruptcy, they struggle with a broken real estate market, school system, and job market--and their lives have not improved. Detroit is emblematic. Kirshner makes a powerful argument that cities--the economic engine of America--are never quite given the aid that they need by either the state or federal government for their residents to survive, not to mention flourish. Success for all America's citizens depends on equity of opportunity.
Call Number: 336.3 KIR
Publication Date: 2019-11-19
Dear America by Jose VargasTHE NATIONAL BESTSELLER "This riveting, courageous memoir ought to be mandatory reading for every American." --Michelle Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of The New Jim Crow "l cried reading this book, realizing more fully what my parents endured." --Amy Tan, New York Times bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and Where the Past Begins "This book couldn't be more timely and more necessary." --Dave Eggers, New York Times bestselling author of What Is the What and The Monk of Mokha Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, called "the most famous undocumented immigrant in America," tackles one of the defining issues of our time in this explosive and deeply personal call to arms. "This is not a book about the politics of immigration. This book--at its core--is not about immigration at all. This book is about homelessness, not in a traditional sense, but in the unsettled, unmoored psychological state that undocumented immigrants like myself find ourselves in. This book is about lying and being forced to lie to get by; about passing as an American and as a contributing citizen; about families, keeping them together, and having to make new ones when you can't. This book is about constantly hiding from the government and, in the process, hiding from ourselves. This book is about what it means to not have a home. After 25 years of living illegally in a country that does not consider me one of its own, this book is the closest thing I have to freedom." --Jose Antonio Vargas, from Dear America
Publication Date: 2018-09-18
Dominicana by Angie CruzFifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn't matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year's Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by Cesar, Juan's free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay. As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family's assets, leaving Cesar to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with Cesar, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family. In bright, musical prose that reflects the energy of New York City, Angie Cruz's Dominicana is a vital portrait of the immigrant experience and the timeless coming-of-age story of a young woman finding her voice in the world.
Call Number: F CRU
Publication Date: 2019-09-03
Dreamland (YA Edition) by Sam QuinonesAs an adult book, Sam Quinones's Dreamland took the world by storm, winning the NBCC Award for General Nonfiction and hitting at least a dozen Best Book of the Year lists. Now, adapted for the first time for a young adult audience, this compelling reporting explains the roots of the current opiate crisis. In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field; named Dreamland, it became the vital center of the community. Now, addiction has devastated Portsmouth, as it has hundreds of small rural towns and suburbs across America. How that happened is the riveting story ofDreamland. Quinones explains how the rise of the prescription drug OxyContin, a miraculous and extremely addictive painkiller pushed by pharmaceutical companies, paralleled the massive influx of black tar heroin--cheap, potent, and originating from one small county on Mexico's west coast, independent of any drug cartel. Introducing a memorable cast of characters--pharmaceutical pioneers, young Mexican entrepreneurs, narcotics investigators, survivors, teens, and parents--Dreamland is a revelatory account of the massive threat facing America and its heartland.
Call Number: 362.29 QUI
Publication Date: 2019-07-16
Dreams from My Father by Barack ObamaIn this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns that his father--a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man--has been killed in a car accident. This sudden death inspires an emotional odyssey--first to a small town in Kansas, from which he retraces the migration of his mother's family to Hawaii, and then to Kenya, where he meets the African side of his family, confronts the bitter truth of his father's life, and at last reconciles his divided inheritance. Praise for Dreams from My Father "Beautifully crafted . . . moving and candid . . . This book belongs on the shelf beside works like James McBride's The Color of Water and Gregory Howard Williams's Life on the Color Line as a tale of living astride America's racial categories."--Scott Turow "Provocative . . . Persuasively describes the phenomenon of belonging to two different worlds, and thus belonging to neither."--The New York Times Book Review "Obama's writing is incisive yet forgiving. This is a book worth savoring."--Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here "One of the most powerful books of self-discovery I've ever read, all the more so for its illuminating insights into the problems not only of race, class, and color, but of culture and ethnicity. It is also beautifully written, skillfully layered, and paced like a good novel."--Charlayne Hunter-Gault, author of In My Place "Dreams from My Father is an exquisite, sensitive study of this wonderful young author's journey into adulthood, his search for community and his place in it, his quest for an understanding of his roots, and his discovery of the poetry of human life. Perceptive and wise, this book will tell you something about yourself whether you are black or white."--Marian Wright Edelman
Enrique's Journey (the Young Adult Adaptation) by Sonia NazarioIn this bestselling true story, one Honduran boy goes in search of his mother, who left to find work in the United States ten years ago--when he was just seven years old. This is the true and heartbreaking story of sixteen-year-old Enrique, who sets off on a journey alone to find his mother, who he has not seen for eleven years, not since she left her starving family and illegally entered the United States, hoping to make enough money to send home to Honduras. With little more in his pocket than a slip of paper bearing his mother's phone number, Enrique embarks on a treacherous odyssey, traveling by clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains. Even when confronted by bandits, thugs, and corrupt cops, he is determined to complete his journey, often buoyed by the kindness of strangers or simply by luck finding water or food. In the face of this hostile world, Enrique's love for his mother and his desire to be reunited with her endure and triumph. Enrique's journey tells the larger story of undocumented Latin American migrants in the United States. His is an inspiring and timeless tale about the meaning of family and fortitude that brings to light the daily struggles of migrants, legal and otherwise, and the complicated choices they face. The issues seamlessly interwoven into this gripping nonfiction work for young people, based on the adult phenomenon Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother and the Pulitzer Price-winning Los Angeles Times newspaper series that inspired it, are perfect for common core usage and for discussions of current events. Includes an 8-page photo insert, as well as an epilogue that describes what has happened to Enrique and his family since the adult edition was published. Praise for Enrique's Journey "A heartwrenching account. Provides a human face, both beautiful and scarred, for the undocumented. A must read." --Kirkus Reviews, Starred "This powerfully written survival story personalizes the complicated, pervasive, and heart-wrenching debates about immigration and immigrants' rights and will certainly spark discussion in the classroom and at home."--Booklist
Call Number: 305.23 NAZ
Publication Date: 2013-08-27
Evicted by Matthew DesmondPrinceton sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they each struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Hailed as "wrenching and revelatory" (The Nation), "vivid and unsettling" (New York Review of Books), Evicted transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of twenty-first-century America's most devastating problems. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible. NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY President Barack Obama * The New York Times Book Review * The Boston Globe * The Washington Post * NPR * Entertainment Weekly * The New Yorker * Bloomberg * Esquire * BuzzFeed * Fortune * San Francisco Chronicle * Milwaukee Journal Sentinel * St. Louis Post-Dispatch * Politico * The Week * Chicago Public Library * BookPage * Kirkus Reviews * Library Journal * Publishers Weekly * Booklist * Shelf Awareness WINNER OF: The National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction * The PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction * The Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction * The Hillman Prize for Book Journalism * The PEN/New England Award * The Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize FINALIST FOR THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE AND THE KIRKUS PRIZE "Evicted stands among the very best of the social justice books."--Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto and Commonwealth "Gripping and moving--tragic, too."--Jesmyn Ward, author of Salvage the Bones "Evicted is that rare work that has something genuinely new to say about poverty."--San Francisco Chronicle
Heartland by Sarah SmarshAn eye-opening memoir of working-class poverty in the American Midwest. During Sarah Smarsh's turbulent childhood in Kansas in the 1980s and 1990s, the forces of cyclical poverty and the country's changing economic policies solidified her family's place among the working poor. By telling the story of her life and the lives of the people she loves, Smarsh challenges us to look more closely at the class divide in our country and examine the myths about people thought to be less because they earn less. Her personal history affirms the corrosive impact intergenerational poverty can have on individuals, families, and communities, and she explores this idea as lived experience, metaphor, and level of consciousness. Smarsh was born a fifth generation Kansas wheat farmer on her paternal side and the product of generations of teen mothers on her maternal side. Through her experiences growing up as the daughter of a dissatisfied young mother and raised predominantly by her grandmother on a farm thirty miles west of Wichita, we are given a unique and essential look into the lives of poor and working class Americans living in the heartland. Combining memoir with powerful analysis and cultural commentary, Heartland is an uncompromising look at class, identity, and the particular perils of having less in a country known for its excess. "Sarah Smarsh--tough-minded and rough-hewn--draws us into the real lives of her family, barely making it out there on the American plains. There's not a false note. Smarsh, as a writer, is Authentic with a capital A...This is just what the world needs to hear" (George Hodgman, author of Bettyville).
Call Number: B SMARSH
Publication Date: 2018-09-18
Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. VanceFrom a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader probing look at the struggles of America's white working class Hillbilly Elegy s a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis--that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.'s grandparents were "dirt poor and in love," and moved north from Kentucky's Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance's grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history. A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.
Call Number: B VANCE
Publication Date: 2016-06-28
The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú; Francisco CantúFor Francisco Cantú, the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Driven to understand the hard realities of the landscape he loves, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners learn to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights. They haul in the dead and deliver to detention those they find alive. Plagued by a growing awareness of his complicity in a dehumanizing enterprise, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantú discovers that the border has migrated with him, and now he must know the full extent of the violence it wreaks, on both sides of the line.
Call Number: 363.28 CAN
Publication Date: 2018-02-06
Maid by Stephanie Land; Barbara Ehrenreich (Foreword by)NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Evicted meets Nickel and Dimed in Stephanie Land's memoir about working as a maid, a beautiful and gritty exploration of poverty in America. Includes a foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich. At 28, Stephanie Land's plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer, were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy. She turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, and with a tenacious grip on her dream to provide her daughter the very best life possible, Stephanie worked days and took classes online to earn a college degree, and began to write relentlessly. She wrote the true stories that weren't being told: the stories of overworked and underpaid Americans. Of living on food stamps and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) coupons to eat. Of the government programs that provided her housing, but that doubled as halfway houses. The aloof government employees who called her lucky for receiving assistance while she didn't feel lucky at all. She wrote to remember the fight, to eventually cut through the deep-rooted stigmas of the working poor. Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it's like to be in service to them. "I'd become a nameless ghost," Stephanie writes about her relationship with her clients, many of whom do not know her from any other cleaner, but who she learns plenty about. As she begins to discover more about her clients' lives-their sadness and love, too-she begins to find hope in her own path. Her compassionate, unflinching writing as a journalist gives voice to the "servant" worker, and those pursuing the American Dream from below the poverty line. Maid is Stephanie's story, but it's not her alone. It is an inspiring testament to the strength, determination, and ultimate triumph of the human spirit.
Call Number: 305.43 LAN
Publication Date: 2019-01-22
The Making of Black Lives Matter by Christopher J. LebronStarted in the wake of George Zimmerman's 2013 acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has become a powerful and uncompromising campaign demanding redress for the brutal and unjustified treatment of black bodies by law enforcement in the United States. The movement is only a few years old, but as Christopher J. Lebron argues in this book, the sentiment behind it is not; the plea and demand that "Black Lives Matter" comes out of a much older and richer tradition arguing for the equal dignity -- and not just equal rights -- of black people. The Making of Black Lives Matter presents a condensed and accessible intellectual history that traces the genesis of the ideas that have built into the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Drawing on the work of revolutionary black public intellectuals, including Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, Anna Julia Cooper, Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, and Martin Luther King Jr., Lebron clarifies what it means to assert that "Black Lives Matter" when faced with contemporary instances of anti-black law enforcement. He also illuminates the crucial difference between the problem signaled by the social media hashtag and how we think that we ought to address the problem. As Lebron states, police body cameras, or even the exhortation for civil rights mean nothing in the absence of equality and dignity. To upset dominant practices of abuse, oppression and disregard, we must reach instead for radical sensibility. Radical sensibility requires that we become cognizant of the history of black thought and activism in order to make sense of the emotions, demands, and arguments of present-day activists and public thinkers. Only in this way can we truly embrace and pursue the idea of racial progress in America.
Call Number: 305.896 LEB
Publication Date: 2017-06-01
Nickel and Dimed by Barbara EhrenreichIn this now classic work, Barbara Ehrenreich, our sharpest and most original social critic, goes "undercover" as an unskilled worker to reveal the dark side of American prosperity. Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job--any job--can be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered. Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing-home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. She lived in trailer parks and crumbling residential motels. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly "unskilled," that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you int to live indoors. Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity--a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Read it for the smoldering clarity of Ehrenreich's perspective and for a rare view of how "prosperity" looks from the bottom. You will never see anything--from a motel bathroom to a restaurant meal--in quite the same way again.
Call Number: 305.569 EHR
Publication Date: 2011-08-02
Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. KendiThe National Book Award winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society. Some Americans insist that we're living in a post-racial society. But racist thought is not just alive and well in America -- it is more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit. In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. He uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis. As Kendi shows, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. They were created to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation's racial inequities. In shedding light on this history, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose racist thinking. In the process, he gives us reason to hope.
Call Number: 305.8 KEN
Publication Date: 2016-04-12
Undocumented by Dan-el Padilla PeraltaAn undocumented immigrant’s journey from a New York City homeless shelter to the top of his Princeton class Dan-el Padilla Peralta has lived the American dream. As a boy, he came here legally with his family. Together they left Santo Domingo behind, but life in New York City was harder than they imagined. Their visas lapsed, and Dan-el’s father returned home. But Dan-el’s courageous mother was determined to make a better life for her bright sons. Without papers, she faced tremendous obstacles. While Dan-el was only in grade school, the family joined the ranks of the city’s homeless. Dan-el, his mother, and brother lived in a downtown shelter where Dan-el’s only refuge was the meager library. There he met Jeff, a young volunteer from a wealthy family. Jeff was immediately struck by Dan-el’s passion for books and learning. With Jeff’s help, Dan-el was accepted on scholarship to Collegiate, the oldest private school in the country. There, Dan-el thrived. Throughout his youth, Dan-el navigated these two worlds: the rough streets of East Harlem, where he lived with his brother and his mother and tried to make friends, and the ultra-elite halls of a Manhattan private school, where he could immerse himself in a world of books and where he soon rose to the top of his class. From Collegiate, Dan-el went to Princeton, where he thrived, and where he made the momentous decision to come out as an undocumented student in a Wall Street Journal profile a few months before he gave the salutatorian’s traditional address in Latin at his commencement. Undocumented is a classic story of the triumph of the human spirit. It also is the perfect cri de coeur for the debate on comprehensive immigration reform. Praise for Undocumented “Dan-el Padilla Peralta’s story is as compulsively readable as a novel, an all-American tall tale that just happens to be true. From homeless shelter to Princeton, Oxford, and Stanford, through the grace not only of his own hard work but his mother’s discipline and care, he documents the America we should still aspire to be.” —Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, President of the New America Foundation