Orhan's Inheritance

Orhan's Inheritance, by Aline Ohanesian

When Orhan’s brilliant and eccentric grandfather, who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs, is found dead, submerged in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits the decades-old business. But his grandfather has left the family estate to a stranger thousands of miles away, Seda, an aging woman in a retirement home in Los Angeles.

Over time, Orhan begins to unearth the story that eighty-seven-year-old Seda so closely guards–a story that, if it’s told, has the power to undo the legacy upon which Orhan’s family is built and could unravel Orhan’s own future.

What did you think of this book? Tell us!

2016 Resources

BOOK DISCUSSION AND PROGRAM RESOURCES

You can find copies of The Book of Unknown Americans at the Ann Arbor District Library, the Ypsilanti District Library, and in area bookstores.

Visit the author's and the publisher's websites.

Use this Reader's Guide as you and your group read and discuss the book. Hosting your first book discussion? Take a look at these Book Discussion Guidelines to keep the conversation flowing and on topic.

Read a three-question interview with Cristina Henriquez about her book and take a look at her short piece, A Year in Reading 2015, to see her recommendations for the year.

Explore Eastern Michigan University Library's Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads Research Guides.

These Youth Reading Lists, created by the Ann Arbor District Library and the Ypsilanti District Library, allow younger readers to join in learning about themes from this year's Read. Look for expanded lists on the Ann Arbor District Library's website for Grades K–5 and Grades 6–8.

Inspired by the book, the #UnknownAmericans Project on Tumblr shares real Unknown Americans stories. Users can submit their own stories and photos related to how they came to the United States and what their lives are like now, and the stories and photos are shared on the internet to bring awareness to real Unknown Americans like the characters in the book.

The Ann Arbor District Library and Ypsilanti Library have been selected as grant recipients for Latino Americans: 500 Years of History, a public programming initiative produced by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. Visit AADL’s Latino Americans page for more details including screening times for the PBS series Latino Americans to be shown in both English and Spanish.

PODCASTS

Cristina Henriquez participated in the 2015 Chicago Humanities Festival, and there she was joined in conversation by Coya Paz, artistic director of Free Street Theater.

Cristina also appeared on WNYC's The Leonard Lopate Show to discuss The Book of Unknown Americans and its characters.

In this episode of Martin Bandyke Under Covers, Martin talks to music journalist Chris Morris about his book Los Lobos, which traces the long and genre-spanning four-decade career of the band famous for their chart-topping 1987 cover of "La Bamba."

RELATED TOPICS

LatinoStories.com features a list of Top Latino Films About Immigration

NBCLatino.com presents The Immigrant Experience Through Some Essential Movies

For more on Latino Immigration as an issue, read David G. Gutiérrez's An Historic Overview of Latino Immigration and the Demographic Transformation of the United States and examine Pew Research Center's Immigration page.

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

PALMA (Proyecto Avance, Latino Mentoring Association), a tutoring group that helps Latino students in the Ann Arbor area with their schoolwork and adults with basic English as a Second Language instruction, meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00pm to 7:30pm at the Ann Arbor Downtown Library.

EVENT PUBLICITY RESOURCES

Hosting a book discussion, Read program, or want to promote the Read? See our Posters Page for posters you can download and print to promote the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads program or your own book discussion!

Special Thanks

Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Reads Committees

Steering Committee

Tim Grimes, Community Relations and Marketing Manager, Ann Arbor District Library
Gillian Ream Gainsley, Communications and Development Coordinator, Ypsilanti District LIbrary
Diane Hockett, Treasurer, Washtenaw Intermediate School District
Lori Kunkel-Coryell, Assistant Director, Ypsilanti District Library
Ira Lax, Outreach Assistant, Ann Arbor District Library

Screening Committee

Molly Mahony, Philosophy Librarian, University of Michigan
Sara Memmott, Librarian, Eastern Michigan University
Maureen Angyan, Teacher, Ypsilanti Public Schools
Peter Blackshear, Bookbound
Lindsey Fortino, Barnes & Noble
Rhonda Fowler, Eastern Michigan University
Kristal Jaaskelainen, Teacher, Skyline High School
Lori Kunkel-Coryell, Assistant Director, Ypsilanti District Library
Hilary Lowe, Literati Bookstore
Lynn Riehl, Nicola's Books
Gayle Townsend, Barnes & Noble
Sara Wedell, Librarian, Ann Arbor District Library

Selection Panel

Sumi Kailasapathy, Ann Arbor City Council
Martin Bandyke, Radio Personality
Joe Reilly, Musician

Publicity Committee

Tim Grimes, Community Relations and Marketing Manager, Ann Arbor District Library
Peter Blackshear, Bookbound
Emily Hamstra, Learning Librarian, University of Michigan LIbrary
Emma Jackson, Washtenaw Intermediate School District
Meryl Brodsky, Business Librarian, Eastern Michigan University
Lynn Riehl, Nicola's Books
Lindsey Fortino, Barnes & Noble
Gillian Ream Gainsley, Communications and Development Manager, Ypsilanti District Library
Mary Garbodin, Outreach Coordinator, Ypsilanti District Library
Hilary Lowe, Literati Bookstore
Molly Mahony, Philosophy Librarian, University of Michigan
Valerie Sobczak, Ann Arbor District Library
Amanda Szot, Ann Arbor District Library

How to Participate

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads is a community-wide event! How can you participate?

Hold A Discussion Group In Your Community

Organize an event or discussion related to the read.
Events may be open to the public or restricted. Examples include:
• Book clubs wishing to use the book at a private meeting or discussion
• College or high school instructors assigning the book to their class
• Local workplaces hosting discussion groups for their employees
• Coffee shops inviting customers to connect over coffee on a particular night
• Film societies presenting a film related to the topic

Tell Us About Your Event

If you have an event related to the Read, and would like to have it listed on this site, please contact Valerie Sobczak, Ann Arbor District Library Community Relations and Marketing Library Technician by email at sobczakv@aadl.org or by phone at 734-327-8331. Please tell us the title of the event, date, time, location, sponsoring organization and contact information. Also, let us know if registration is required or if the event is on a drop-in basis.

Keep Checking this Website for Updates!
The site will change often as events are added. Please check for changes.

Book Discussions 2016

COMMUNITY BOOK DISCUSSIONS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Book Discussion: The Book of Unknown Americans: A Novel by Cristina Henriquez

Monday, January 11 at 7 pm

AADL staff lead a discussion of The Book of Unknown Americans: A Novel by Cristina Henriquez, the book selected for Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads 2016.

Ann Arbor District Library Pittsfield Branch
2359 Oak Valley Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Monday Evening Book Group

Monday, February 1 at 7pm

February's selection for Ypsilanti District Library's Monday Night Book Group is The Book of Unknown Americans: A Novel by Cristina Henríquez.

Ypsilanti District Library – Whittaker Branch Room 1C
5577 Whittaker Road
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Thursday Morning Book Group

Thursday, February 4 at 10:30 am

February's selection for Ypsilanti District Library's Thursday Morning Book Group is The Book of Unknown Americans: A Novel by Cristina Henríquez.

Ypsilanti District Library – Whittaker Branch Room 1C
5577 Whittaker Road
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

About the Reads: 2016

The Theme of the 2016 Reads is A Very Good Read.

The Book of Unknown Americans Cristina Henriquez, The Book of Unknown Americans. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.

Please see the Finalists Page for more information about the titles which were under consideration.

Statement of Purpose

The Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads program is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book.

History

Launched in 2003 by the University of Michigan Life Sciences, Values and Society Program, the Reads project was fashioned after a civic reads program designed by the Seattle Public Library. The book chosen for the inaugural Reads was “Lincoln’s DNA,” by Phillip R. Reilly. The Ann Arbor District Library was a major partner in this effort along with other area organizations.

In subsequent years, the Reads Program has been co-sponsored by the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti District Libraries and is supported by interested civic groups, the University of Michigan School of LS&A, the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Public Schools, local bookstores, Eastern Michigan University Libraries and Washtenaw Community College.

Reads Theme

Previous themes have included a review of civil rights in the United States in celebration of the anniversary of Brown v Board of Education; “Revolutions in Science,” a discussion of evolution and the scientific method and “We the People...” how we define citizenship; in 2008 the theme was China and America: Bridging Two Worlds; and for 2009, The Universe: Yours to Discover. For 2012, the Steering Committee opted for a general theme of "Language: How We Communicate." The 2016 Reads theme is A Very Good Read and highlights a work of fiction.

Book Selection

Books chosen for the Reads should meet the following criteria:

* The writing should be engaging and thought-provoking.
* The subjects discussed should be accessible to readers throughout the community, high-school age and above.
* The length, price, and availability of the book should be suited to involvement by the general public.
* The book should be by a living author.
* Its treatment of issues should encourage readers to discuss the issues further with others, at home, work, reading clubs, and community events.
* Ideally, the subject should lead to constructive dialogues across our diverse communities.

Process:
During the summer the Book Screening Committee made up of individuals selected as representative of various civic constituencies read many titles reflecting the year’s theme. In the fall, a panel of distinguished judges reviewed the two titles suggested by the Screening Committee and made a final recommendation of the Reads book for the coming year.

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads 2016 is scheduled to occur January through February 2016. Please watch this site for more information.

Events 2016

ANN ARBOR / YPSILANTI READS AUTHOR CRISTINA HENRIQUEZ APPEARS AT TOWSLEY AUDITORIUM, ON THE CAMPUS OF WASHTENAW COMMUNITY COLLEGE

Tuesday, February 23, 7 - 9 pm

To Discuss This Year's Reads Book 
"The Book of Unknown Americans"
As Well As Sign Copies of Her Book

Writer Cristina Henriquez will discuss her work at a special appearance for the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti Reads 2016. The public program will occur from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Doors will open at 6 pm to offer the opportunity to connect with community agencies and representatives who will be staffing information tables in the lobby. Copies of "The Book of Unknown Americans" will be for sale and the event will include a book signing.

Towsley Auditorium
Morris Lawrence Building, Washtenaw Community College
4800 E. Huron River Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48105

RELATED EVENTS

Monday Night Movies: Tango

Monday, January 25, 6:30 pm

This Monday's movie is Tango(1998, PG-13). Set in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the film tells the story of director Mario Suarez's quest to make the ultimate tango film.

Ypsilanti District Library – Whittaker Branch Board Room
5577 Whittaker Road
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Monday Evening Book Group

Monday, February 1, 7pm

February's selection for Ypsilanti District Library's Monday Night Book Club is The Book of Unknown Americans: A Novel by Cristina Henríquez.

Ypsilanti District Library – Whittaker Branch Room 1C
5577 Whittaker Road
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Thursday Morning Book Group

Thursday, February 4 at 10:30 am

February's selection for Ypsilanti District Library's Thursday Morning Book Group is The Book of Unknown Americans: A Novel by Cristina Henríquez.

Ypsilanti District Library – Whittaker Branch Room 1C
5577 Whittaker Road
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Navigating the Immigration Experience

Monday, February 15, 7 pm

Author Saundra Amrhein will share life stories depicted in her book, "Green Card Stories", including the legal, social, emotional, financial, and spiritual obstacles that mirrors what immigrants continue to face across the USA.

Ann Arbor District Library – Downtown Multi-purpose Room
343 South Fifth Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

 

Two Finalists for 2016

A panel of local individuals will read both books and determine which will be chosen for Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads 2016.

Read along with us and leave a comment under one or both of the titles' webpages, and tell us what you think!

The two books under consideration are:

The Book of Unknown Americans

Cristina Henriquez, The Book of Unknown Americans. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.

Just Mercy

Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2014.

The Book of Unknown Americans

The Book of Unknown Americans, by Cristina Henriquez

Arturo Rivera was the owner of a construction company in Pátzcuaro, Mexico. One day, as his beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter, Maribel, is helping him at a work site, she sustains an injury that casts doubt on whether she’ll ever be the same again. And so, leaving all they have behind, the Riveras come to America with a single dream: that in this country of great opportunity and resources, Maribel can get better.

When Mayor Toro, whose family is from Panama, sees Maribel in a Dollar Tree store, it is love at first sight. It’s also the beginning of a friendship between the Rivera and Toro families, whose web of guilt and love and responsibility is at this novel’s core.

Woven into their stories are the testimonials of men and women who have come to the United States from all over Central and Latin America. Their journeys and their voices will inspire you, surprise you, and break your heart.

What did you think of this book? Tell us!

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