One Book One College novel focuses on immigrant experience

“How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents” is selected for this year’s One Book One College Program.

By Aki Takashiro, Staff Writer

The story of four Dominican sisters who fled their home to the United States for a better life has been selected for The One Book One College Program this year.

“How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents” tells the tale of four Dominican sisters and their family who escaped from their homeland, the Dominican Republic, during Rafael Trujillo’s inhumane dictatorship from 1956 to 1970. The major focus of the story is their struggle as immigrants, acculturation, and confusion of identities. Although this is a fictional story, the author Julia Alvarez, who is Dominican-American, reveals that it reflects her real-life experiences.

The book was selected as a Notable Book by The New York Times and the American Library Association, and also  won the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for books with a multicultural perspective. Each year, a committee of faculty and staff at each respective school selects a book for their One Book One College Program. The purpose of the program is to encourage students to engage in intellectual conversations and creative activities. Since the faculty from a variety of subjects uses the book in  their classes, students can see how different disciplines can be integrated through the same reading material, according to the Valley News Blog.

“I am very excited to be involved and to help spearhead this program at Valley College,” said Michelle Lewis, program coordinator. “I heard about similar programs at other colleges about five years ago, so I am enthusiastic that it has come to Valley.”

The One book One College Program plans to hold two events this fall; an Immigration Issues Teach-in on Wednesday Oct. 25 at 1-2 p.m., and a Student Project Showcase on Wednesday, Nov. 29 from  1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Both will be held at Monarch Hall. “Accents” is available at the Valley College library for check out. 


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