by Naia Fermino

At Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) students and faculty are presented with a unique opportunity to come together as a community-wide book club to read a preselected novel as part of the One College One Book program.

4Cs along with various other colleges offer this program in which one book is selected for the school that year. The book chosen generally features a theme of common or current interest that the college is then able to base relating events around.

“I think here at the college we’ve been doing it probably for at least a dozen years,” said Cindy Pavlos, chair of the One Book committee. “I’ve been involved for 6 years.”

The committee consists of faculty and staff who gather and read several books and decide on which title is the best fit.

Pavlos said, “We [One Book committee] shortlist down to maybe six books and we all read the six books over the summer usually and then decide by voting. So, it’s a pretty democratic process.”

Previous books that have been chosen include The Martian by Andy Weir and another being a book of short stories called Black Bird House by Alice Hoffman.

This year, starting in fall of 2019 and continuing this spring of 2020 the 4Cs One College One Book has selected the book titled Enrique’s Journey about a boy named who is about five years old when his mother travels to the US to find work. Enrique and his family back in his home country continue to struggle with food and money during this time without her which plays a role in his eventual decision as a teen to make the intimidating journey north to find his mother once again.

“This year because immigration is so much in the news, we thought that this would be a really good book,” said Pavlos. “We read a number of books about immigration trying to decide which one to choose.”

Not only does Enrique’s Journey have to do with a hot topic but the author of the book Sonia Nazario won the Pulitzer Prize for writing it. Nazario met Enriquein person to learn about his journey and as a result felt compelled to tell the story of how him, as well as many others make this trek. To truly capture the nature of Enrique’s story Nazario made the decision to take and experience the same journey that he made.

“She took the exact same route that Enrique took so that she could write about it with authenticity,” said Pavlos.

Anyone and everyone is welcomed to participate and attend the events offered by 4Cs for Enrique’s Journey. One of the first upcoming events this spring is the live reading of the book which happens over the course of two days, February 26 and 27 from 9AM to 3PM in the Grossman Commons.

“People can stop and listen, they can read for 5 minutes,” said Pavlos. “Sometimes people think they don’t want to read but they come and listen and then they say ‘You know I’d like to.’”

There will also be a screening of a film called The Visitor that similarly deals with the serious theme of immigration but has a little bit of comedy thrown in and features quite a bit of music as well. This showing takes place April 1 at 2PM in Lecture Hall C.

Pavlos said “Immigration is a serious topic so we looked for a film that was going to be a little more entertaining.”

Another major event also being held with this theme in mind is the Unpack Your Own Story workshop. The International Institute of New England will be coming to campus for two days to train faculty, students, and staff in the art of storytelling. Coming back to the theme of the book and events which is immigration, the workshop will specifically focus on the Suitcase Stories program.

The suitcase symbolizes immigration and individuals will mostly focus on personal or family stories about such. Trainor Cheryl Hamilton will help train any individuals who are interested in telling their story and putting it together. All participants will be asked to record their story so it can be aired on WKKL. This is a great way to get on air without feeling too nervous about being live.

“It’s an art anyone can learn,” said Pavlos. “If we can learn how to be better storytellers this is a skill that’s going to help us in everything”.

In addition, about five to six individuals will be chosen from the Unpack Your Own Story workshop to perform and demonstrate their stories live April 22 at 7PM in the Studio Theater within the Tilden Arts Center. This will be great way to for students or staff to have the 4Cs community as well as loved ones come to be a part of their story.

Free copies of Enrique’s Journey are available in the library for those who have yet to read the novel. Though encouraged, reading the book is not a requirement for those who would like to participate in any of the events scheduled to happen this semester. It is a great way to get involved in the community while also being educated on the topic of immigration.