A young poet tells the inspiring story of his migration from El Salvador to the United States at the age of nine in this “gripping memoir” (NPR) of bravery, hope, and finding family. Zamora spoke in the Berkley Theater at Greenwich Library on Tuesday, November 14 at 7 p.m.
Trip. My parents started using that word about a year ago—“one day, you’ll take a trip to be with us. Like an adventure.”
Javier Zamora’s adventure is a three-thousand-mile journey from his small town in El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, and across the U.S. border. He will leave behind his beloved aunt and grandparents to reunite with a mother who left four years ago and a father he barely remembers. Traveling alone amid a group of strangers and a “coyote” hired to lead them to safety, Javier expects his trip to last two short weeks. At nine years old, all Javier can imagine is rushing into his parents’ arms, snuggling in bed between them, and living under the same roof again. He cannot foresee the perilous boat trips, relentless desert treks, pointed guns, arrests, and deceptions that await him; nor can he know that those two weeks will expand into two life-altering months alongside fellow migrants who will come to encircle him like an unexpected family. A memoir as gripping as it is moving, Solito provides an immediate and intimate account not only of a treacherous and near-impossible journey but also of the miraculous kindness and love delivered at the most unexpected moments. Solito is Javier Zamora’s story, but it’s also the story of millions of others who had no choice but to leave home.
About Javier Zamora
Javier Zamora was born in El Salvador in 1990. His father fled the country when he was one, and his mother when he was about to turn five. Both parents’ migrations were caused by the U.S.-funded Salvadoran Civil War. When he was nine Javier migrated through Guatemala, Mexico, and the Sonoran Desert. His debut poetry collection, Unaccompanied, explores the impact of the war and immigration on his family. Zamora has been a Stegner Fellow at Stanford and a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard and holds fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.
- New York Times Bestseller
- Read With Jenna Book Club Pick as seen on Today
- Winner of the Los Angeles Times Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiography
- Winner of the American Library Association Alex Award
- Finalist for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction
- One of the New York Public Library’s Ten Best Books of the Year
- Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence and the PEN/Open Book Award
- One of the Best Books of the Year: The New York Times Book Review, NPR, The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Vulture, She Reads, Kirkus Reviews
Greenwich Reads Together Founding Organizations
Greenwich Alliance for Education
Greenwich Arts Council
Greenwich Historical Society
Greenwich Pen Women
Greenwich Public & Independent Schools
Perrot Memorial Library
Retired Men’s Association of Greenwich
Greenwich Reads Together is supported by the Friends of the Greenwich Library.
Past Greenwich Reads Together Selections
Olga Dies Dreaming
By Xochitl Gonzalez
It’s 2017, and Olga and her brother, Pedro “Prieto” Acevedo, are boldfaced names in their hometown of New York. Prieto is a popular congressman representing their gentrifying Latinx neighborhood in Brooklyn, while Olga is the tony wedding planner for Manhattan’s power brokers. Despite their alluring public lives, behind closed doors, things are far less rosy. Sure, Olga can orchestrate the love stories of the 1% but she can’t seem to find her own…until she meets Matteo, who forces her to confront the effects of long-held family secrets.
Deacon King Kong
By James McBride
In September 1969, a fumbling, cranky old church deacon known as Sportcoat shuffles into the courtyard of the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn, pulls a .45 from his pocket, and in front of everybody shoots the project’s drug dealer at point-blank range. The reasons for this desperate burst of violence and the consequences that spring from it lie at the heart of Deacon King Kong.
By Bryan Stevenson
Just Mercy is a powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time. It is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.
Mountains Beyond Mountains
By Tracy Kidder
This compelling and inspiring book shows how one person can work wonders. In Mountains Beyond Mountains, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder tells the true story of a gifted man, Dr. Paul Farmer, who loves the world and has set out to do all he can to cure it. At the heart of this book is the example of a life based on hope and on an understanding of the truth of the Haitian proverb “Beyond mountains there are mountains”–as you solve one problem, another problem presents itself, and so you go on and try to solve that one too.
By Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by American writer Ray Bradbury, first published in 1953. Often regarded as one of his best works, the novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and “firemen” burn any that are found.
By Liza Mundy
Recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges, more than ten thousand women served as codebreakers during World War II. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington and learned the meticulous work of code-breaking.
News of the World
By Paulette Jiles
In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.
By Emily St. John Mandel
Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end.
By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Separated by differing ambitions after falling in love in occupied Nigeria, beautiful Ifemelu experiences triumph and defeat in America, while Obinze endures an undocumented status in London until the pair are reunited in their homeland 15 years later.
Boys in the Boat
By Daniel Brown
Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans.
When the Emperor Was Devine
By Julie Otsuka
This is a story told from five different points of view, chronicles the experiences of Japanese Americans caught up in the nightmare of the World War II internment camps.
By Dave Eggers
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, longtime New Orleans residents Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun are cast into an unthinkable struggle with forces beyond wind and water.