Common Read

The Book of Unknown Americans book cover

For its 2024 Common Read, SUNY Oneonta has chosen Cristina Henríquez’s book, "The Book of Unknown Americans.

Henríquez tells the story of fifteen-year-old Maribel Rivera, who sustains a terrible injury, and her parents, who leave their comfortable life in Mexico and risk everything to come to the United States so that Maribel can have the care she needs. Once they arrive, it’s not long before Maribel attracts the attention of Mayor Toro, the son of one of their new neighbors, who sees a kindred spirit in this outsider. Their love story sets in motion events that will have profound repercussions for everyone involved. Throughout this story of star-crossed lovers and their families, Henríquez seamlessly interweaves the testimonials of men and women who have come to the United States from all over Latin America.

The Book of Unknown Americans was named a New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book, an NPR Great Read, The Daily Beast's Novel of the Year, and a Mother Jones,, School Library Journal, and BookPage Best Book of the Year.

Cristina Henríquez will be on campus on October 21, 2024, to deliver the Mills Distinguished Lecture. The Common Read Committee is planning supplemental programming to support the Common Read during the fall semester.

About the Common Read

SUNY Oneonta’s Common Read advances diversity by encouraging students to examine and better understand topics such as equity, inclusion, and personal history through many lenses. It aims to further infuse cultural literacy into our academic program by asking the campus community to read a diversity-related book, which then is discussed in fall courses across several disciplines.

About the Mills Lecture

The Mills Distinguished Lectureship is named to honor the memory of Professor Albert Mills and his wife, Helena. Their bequest to the SUNY Oneonta Foundation led to the establishment in 1988 of a fund to bring prominent speakers to our campus.

2024 Mills Distinguished Lecture

Cristina Henríquez
Cristina Henríquez

October 21, 2024, at 7 p.m., in the Alumni Field House
Free and open to the public

Past Mills Distinguished Lecturers

Clint Smith, 2023
George Takei, 2022
Dashka Slater, 2021
Ayad Akhtar, 2019
Bryan Stevenson, 2018
Margot Lee Shetterly, 2017
Janet Mock, 2016
Ishmael Beah, 2015
Marjane Satrapi, 2014
Sherman Alexie, 2013

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