One Book One Community Focuses on the Human Face of Migration

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016, 9:37 am
Anna Lynn Slocum

Above: Sonia Nazario

With fall just around the corner, One Book, One Community (OBOC) is back in East Lansing. MSU and the City of East Lansing have announced their picks for this year's theme, “Faces of Migration: The Human Experience.”

The first OBOC book selected for fall 2016 is Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario. The book focuses on a boy's journey from Honduras to America in search of his mother. After his 2,000 mile journey, and eleven attempts to cross the border, he finally makes it into America and begins the struggle to assimilate into the United States. Nazario has written about social justice issues for 25 years, and has won a Pulitzer Prize.

The second OBOC book for fall 2016 is City of Thorns by Ben Rawlence. “Thorns” details the stories of nine individuals Rawlence encountered while spending time in the city of Dalaab's refugee camp, in northern Kenya. He intertwines their stories to detail what life is like in the camp. Rawlence is a former researcher for Human Rights Watch in the Horn of Africa, and has written for a wide assortment of publications.

Representatives from both MSU and the City of East Lansing choose the books with the idea of engaging MSU students and East Lansing residents regarding the complex issues that we face today. Both of the books selected fall under the main criteria for choosing books for OBOC, including: a relevant theme or issue, reading complexity that suits students and community members, and a subject that can be used for community-university events and programming.

In addition to reading the chosen books, multiple OBOC events are planned for fall 2016. The kick-off event on August 28th will be “An Evening with Sonia Nazario” at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center (819 Abbot Road), where she will talk about her experiences, answer questions, and sign books. Admission free and first come first serve, and the doors will open at 6:30pm. There will also be a livestream of the event.

Nazario will also be featured at MSU's Academic Welcome where she will address the incoming class of MSU freshmen at the Breslin Center. This event starts at 9am August 29th, and will be open to the public.

Rawlence will also be featured in an event at the East Lansing Public Library (950 Abbot Road) on September 14th at 7pm, where he will speak about City of Thorns. The event is free, and all are welcome to attend.

In addition to events focused on the OBOC authors, a number of related events are planned. The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum will have a video and sound installation by Sam Jury about refugees living in the Boujdour Camp in southwest Nigeria which will run through November 27, 2016 and is free to the public.

On September 20th the Lansing State Journal and OBOC are hosting a Lansing Storytellers event under the theme of “Crossing Borders,” featuring stories from immigrants and refugees. The event will run 7-9pm and its location is to be announced. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door.

Writing workshops will be held at All Saints Episcopal Church on September 6th, 13th, and 20th from 4-6pm and 7-9pm. The workshops will be led by Anita Skeen, a professor at MSU's Residential College in Arts and Humanities, and will focus on OBOC's theme. Space is limited, and registration is available on OBOC's website.

For a full list of OBOC – related events visit the OBOC Calendar of Events.


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