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Friday, July 25, 2014

The Book of Unknown Americans by Christina Henriquez

I'd like to formally thank The Baby-Sitters Club series for making me the kind of reader that immediately loves a book where the narrator switches every chapter, no matter the content of the book. I'm pretty sure it's the only reason I enjoyed As I Lay Dying when everyone else in my class hated it.

Anyway. I was already excited to start reading Christina Henriquez's The Book of Unknown Americans based solely on three sentences in an email from Knopf. When I opened it and realized it changed narrators, I basically felt a wave of nostalgia.

This book is amazing. Not only is it a beautiful told story, it's an important story to be sharing.

There are so many ways families live across our country. In all directions, ways of life I will never experience or understand, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't be more educated about my fellow Americans (probably the most patriotic sentiment I've ever had).

And speaking of sharing stories, my favorite part about this book is probably the project that has been paired with it. Henriquez has created a Tumblr blog urging readers to share their own stories:

One of my hopes for The Book of Unknown Americans was that it might tell stories people don't usually hear. And now, another hope: that we will all tell our #UnknownAmerican stories. Where did you or your family come from? What is your life like now? We'll create a chorus and make our voices known. 

If you're looking for another book to read this summer, I definitely recommend The Book of Unknown Americans. It is a wonderfully written, truly beautiful story.

And the cover is really nice, too. Of course. It so simply illustrates the central character, Maribel, while also standing for each young woman the character represents. And of course, not being able to see her face speaks volumes to the way Americans can tend to treat "outsiders". Really nicely, simply done.

(photos in collage via Tumblr)


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