"I think I'm still a short storyteller at heart," author Cristina Henríquez told an audience of 200+ during an appearance at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre on Thursday evening, November 12. Cristina spoke about her novel, The Book of Unknown Americans
, which was chosen as the 2015 One Book, One Village selection by the library. In an interview-style program moderated by Info Services Librarian Mike Monahan, Cristina spoke candidly about her book which she originally wrote as a short story before expanding - a task which took five years to complete and tells the story of two families who have immigrated to the United States from Latin America and their neighbors living in a Delaware apartment complex.
"The second you hear someone's story, or imagine their story, it becomes so much harder to be intolerant," she said. "One of the goals of the book was to keep poking at stereotypes."
Following the 50-minute conversation on-stage, the author fielded questions from the audience which included sharing insights on the editing and publishing process.
Earlier in the program when asked to describe the meaning of home, Henríquez responded, "Home is not a place. To me, home is a feeling. It's that feeling when your soul sighs."
The Metropolis event capped off a day-long exchange between the author and the Arlington Heights community about The Book Unknown Americans. Earlier at the library, she did a short reading from the novel for an audience in the Cardinal Room and met in the Hub with more than 80 students from three District 214 schools.
District 214 students meet One Book, One Village author in the Hub
What better way to learn about a book than to meet its author. That's what happened for more than 80 high school students who had the opportunity to meet Cristina Henríquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans, during her November 12 visit to Arlington Heights and the library for One Book, One Village.
The students gathered in the Hub from three schools - John Hersey High School, Rolling Meadows High School and District 214's Newcomer Center - and spent more than an hour with Cristina asking questions about the book, its characters and what it takes to be an author.
"It took me five years to write this book and there were days when it really was a struggle and I wondered if I'd ever finish it," she told the students. Henríquez later added, "The best thing you can do for your writing is to forget that anyone is ever going to read it and just write."