Reyna Grande to appear in West Michigan, followed by Monroe and Toledo
ALLENDALE: The author of the book chosen for Grand Valley State University’s common reading program will give two presentations in West Michigan in late March, followed by appearances at Monroe Community College (March 26) and Toledo (March 27).
Reyna Grande, author of the award-winning “The Distance Between Us,” will discuss her book at the Herrick District Library in Holland and on Grand Valley’s Allendale Campus March 24-25, 2014. Both presentations are free and open to the public, details follow.
•• Monday, March 24, 7 p.m., Herrick District Library, 300 S. River Ave.;
•• Tuesday, March 25, 7 p.m., Kirkhof Center, Grand River Room.
•• Wednesday, March 26, 7 p.m., Monroe County Community College, La-Z-Boy Center, Meyer Theater, 1555 S. Raisinville Rd., Monroe; followed by Brown Bag Discussion, March 27, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m., Monroe County Community College, La-Z-Boy Center, Atrium.
•• Thursday, March 27, 7:30 p.m., University of Toledo Book Store/Barnes & Noble, 1430 Secor Rd. (at Dorr Ave.)—Ms. Grande will meet with El Centro de la Mujer at 6:30 p.m.
Grande’s book brings to the forefront a timely discussion of immigration and citizenship as it details her childhood spent torn between two parents and two countries. Grande’s Mexican parents leave their children behind to make the dangerous trek across the border in search of a better life. When Grande arrives in California at age 9, she adjusts to life as an undocumented immigrant and learns that life in the United States is far from perfect.
Published in 2012, “The Distance Between Us” was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The School Library Journal named it “One of the Best Adult Books for Teens” in 2012, and it was listed that year as one of the 15 best books by the Christian Science Monitor. Grande received the American Book Award for her first novel, Across a Hundred Mountains. She also earned the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award and the Latino Book Award.
Brian Jbara, director of Integrative Learning at GVSU, said the book was used in about 40 courses and by many other discussion groups on campus. The Community Reading Project was established at Grand Valley in 2005. Since then, many authors have visited campus to carry discussions of the book outside the classroom, including visits to community partners like the Herrick District Library.