Skip to Content
Ask a Librarian! instant messaging icon IM | email icon Email | phone icon Phone | link icon Links    
rentschler library homepage rentschler reference
 

"Novel Approach" Book Club Resources

 

Miami University Hamilton’s Center for Civic Engagement has created an action based book club that uses literature to inspire community involvement. The “Novel Approach Book Club” has selected four great books to read in anticipation of a community project (TBD). For more information about “Novel Approach”, please email Kelli Johnson at kjohnson@miamioh.edu.


2010 “Novel Approach” Picks


Book CoverEnrique’s Journey: The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother by Sonia Nazario
Meeting Date: October 6, 2010
Find at the Library
Buy on Amazon

Seeking to understand why Latina single mothers leave their children to come to the U.S., and why many children undertake the hazardous journey to reunite with them, Nazario traced one family’s story. Enrique was determined to find his mother, who left him in Honduras when he was five. At 16, after seven attempts to make it to Texas, robbed by bandits or police, beaten, jailed, and deported again and again, he finally reached the Rio Grande and earned enough to call her. She sent him money to pay a coyote to smuggle him across the border and the two were reunited, but they are strangers now, their relationship strained. Meanwhile, Enrique’s girlfriend in Honduras bore his child. Ultimately, she joined him, leaving their three-year-old daughter behind. Mothers leave their children to send back money for better food, clothing, and schooling, yet years of separation strain family ties. The author retraced Enrique’s journey by traveling on top of trains, hitchhiking, taking buses, facing the dangers the teen faced. Photographs and interviews with him, family members, other children, and those who provide aid along the way document the hazards of migration. Descriptions of rapes, beatings, and jailing of immigrant children and accounts of those who suffered loss of limbs falling from freight trains are graphic and disturbing. But no one can doubt the authenticity of this reporting.

--Molly Connally, Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

If you’d like to read more on immigration topics, explore our immigration bibliography or start with the books below.

Return to Top



Book CoverYou Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers
Meeting Date: November 10, 2010
Find at the Library
Buy on Amazon
Will and Hand are burdened by $38,000 and the memory of their friend Jack. Taking a week out of their lives, they decide to travel around the world to give the money away. They can’t really say why they’re doing it, just that it needs to be done. Perhaps it’s something to do with Jack’s death - perhaps they’ll find the reason later. But as their plans are frustrated, twisted and altered at every step and the natives prove far from grateful to their benefactors, Will and Hand find that the world is an infinitely bigger, more surreal and exhilarating place than they ever realized. In fact, it’s somewhere to get lost in! (Amazon Overview)
If you’d like to read more on philanthropy or changing the world, here are some recommendations for further reading:

Return to Top



Book CoverOutcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference by Warren St. John
Meeting Date: December 1, 2010
Find at the Library
Buy on Amazon
St. John, a New York Times reporter, brought Clarkston, GA, to national attention in 2007 with a series of articles about the changes in the small Southern town brought about by an influx of refugees from all over the world. This book comes out of those articles. It gives more detail about the town and, most particularly, the three soccer teams composed of refugee boys (the Fugees) who were coached by Luma Mufleh, an American-educated Jordanian woman. The book is a sports story, a sociological study, a tale of global and local politics, and the story of a determined woman who became involved in the lives of her young charges. Keeping the boys in school and out of gangs, finding a place for them to practice, and helping their families survive in a new world all became part of her daily life. Engagingly written, this volume will appeal to fans of Larry Colton’s Counting Coup (Grand Central, 2000), H. G. Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights (HarperCollins, 1991), and Madeleine Blais’s In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle (Grand Central, 1996).

—Sarah Flowers, formerly at Santa Clara County Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

If you want to read more about different African refugee experiences, below are some recommendations.

Return to Top



Book CoverThe Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World by Jacqueline Novogratz
Meeting Date: January 12, 2011
Find at the Library
Buy on Amazon
Acumen Fund founder Novogratz blends two narratives in this memoir about her years fighting global poverty. In one thread, she recounts her early experiences in Africa developing microfinance organizations to assist women. Many of her reminiscences focus on relationships with the local women in government who were key to her success as well as the personal trials she encountered matching her Western vision with their ideas about the future. She also writes about later work in India and Pakistan. The other thread focuses on her return to Rwanda after the genocide. Although her inside view of global poverty initiatives and politics at the most basic level makes for interesting reading, her personal story intrudes in a manner that some readers may find self-serving. Her reflections on the genocide also detract from the economic discussion in India and Pakistan, rendering the book more Rwanda-centric (and thus more political) than she may have intended. In the end, Novogratz does provide enough information on microfinance to make readers curious to learn more.

--Colleen Mondor, From Booklist

If you liked this book, you may like Three Cups of Tea. If you’d like to learn more about genocide in Rwanda, the other two books below offer different perspectives.

Return to Top