A deadly plane crash, a social injustice and the backlash that followed are all part of the Book in Common selected for academic year 2018-19.
California State University, Chico President Gayle Hutchinson and Butte College President Samia Yaqub have jointly announced the two institutions’ upcoming Book in Common will be “All They Will Call You” by Tim Z. Hernandez.
“All They Will Call You” tells the devastating true story of a January 1948 plane crash in California’s Central Valley that killed 32 passengers, including 28 Mexican farmworkers who were being deported by the United States government. Through years of painstaking investigative research and masterful storytelling, Hernandez captures a stirring narrative blending historical records, testimony, and eyewitness accounts. The result is boundary-pushing narrative that reconstructs the incident, while creating intimate portraits of those who perished in the fatal plane crash.
Expressing his outrage at the media for omitting the names of the Mexican passengers in reports, American folk icon Woody Guthrie wrote the poem, “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos (Deportee).” The poem became a seminal protest song for nearly seven decades, performed by famed singers Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen, and Joan Baez, among others.
“‘All They Will Call You’ tells a 70-year-old story with themes of immigration and labor that still resonate deeply in California,” said Yaqub. “This is a book that speaks to our time and place.”
The Book in Common is a shared community read, designed to promote discussion and understanding of important issues facing the broader community. It is chosen each year by a group of CSU, Chico and Butte College faculty and staff and members of the local community. As in past years, CSU, Chico, Butte College, the City of Chico, and Butte County will sponsor panel discussions, lectures, and other public events to celebrate and promote the Book in Common.
“We are committed to the Book in Common and to using a shared reading experience not only to educate ourselves on important subjects, but also to bring us together as a community to engage in conversations about issues of our time,” said Hutchinson. “Tim Hernandez’s compelling book serves these purposes beautifully, exploring the subjects of immigration, identity, and disenfranchisement through the exploration of 1948 tragedy.”
Past community reads include “The Distance Between Us,” by Reyna Grande, “Unquenchable,” by Robert Glennon, and “My Life on the Road,” authored by renowned feminist leader Gloria Steinem. The 2017-18 Book in Common selection, Matt Richtel’s nonfiction work “A Deadly Wandering,” focused on a car wreck caused by inattention from using a cell phone while driving and explored the neuroscience of attention and driving. Richtel visited Chico last October for discussions at CSU, Chico and Butte College.
A community kick-off event for this year’s Book in Common will be scheduled for the early part of the fall 2018 semester.
For more information on the Book in Common, visit www.csuchico.edu/bic.