Santa Barbara is ripe with book clubs and reading programs, but few go back further than UCSB Reads. Taking a cue from the One Book, One City program, the now 10-year-old event zeros in on a book a year, which becomes the catalyst for community discussions, on- and off-campus lectures, and cross-curriculum lesson plans. Starting this week, UCSB Reads kicks off its 2010 run with Enrique’s Journey. The Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Los Angeles Times writer Sonia Nazario tells the true tale of a young boy from Honduras who travels to the United States to reunite with his mother. For info on UCSB Reads events, visit And for a few highlights from the 2010 schedule, check out our list below.

1) Life Lessons: Like years past, 2010’s UCSB Reads carries with it an all-important focus: Beyond Borders: The Human Experience. “This year, the theme revolves around diversity and immigration and multiculturalism,” said assistant university librarian Brian Mathews. “We have a diverse student population, so we’re hoping to have some of our many student groups, in addition to the MultiCultural Center, get behind the book and do some programming with us as well.”

2) Cross-Campus Camaraderie: While UCSB Reads is a university-affiliated program, its reach is far wider than the campus student body. Around town, students at Westmont College, Santa Barbara City College, Antioch University, and a slew of area high schools will be working through Enrique’s Journey in the classroom. And because of the many issues addressed in the book-immigration, family dynamics, economics, world affairs-the potential for interdisciplinary learning is at its peak.

3) Free Books: To kick off 2010’s program properly, UCSB Reads is offering up 2,500 copies of Enrique’s Journey to students completely free of charge. The books become available next Thursday, January 14, through the UCSB Library. In addition, discounted copies will be put on sale at UCSB Bookstore leading up to Nazario’s February 11 lecture at Campbell Hall.

4) Community Ties: If you’re not a student, there are still plenty of opportunities to get involved. “We don’t look at UCSB Reads as just a library thing or just a campus thing; it’s a community thing. We’re trying to engage Santa Barbara in this conversation and stimulate the curiosity of those around us,” said Mathews. “We are looking for opportunities to engage the community outside of just conversation so that different cultural groups, or artists, historical societies, or businesses get involved.” Throughout the program’s run, the Santa Barbara Public Library will have a surplus of copies of Enrique’s Journey available for checkout. Visit for availability.


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