Thursday, March 25, 2010

there is always something new to learn

This week's Realgoodwords was kind of a stretch for me. One of the featured books was about immigration laws in the United States, the other was a novel considered historical fiction or inspirational fiction. Both things I don't read every day. So what did I learn you ask?

I've always wondered when I hear people talk about "illegal" citizens in the United States - they suggest that it is easy to become a citizen. Most of the time the people who are saying this know what they are talking about, because they became U.S. citizens themselves. The difference is, all they had to do was be born.

When I talked with author Helen Thorpe about the four young Mexican students she profiles in her new book "Just Like Us" and asked her why the two undocumented students haven't filled out the paperwork to become citizens she finally explained things to me.

These young women were brought to the United States illegally by their parents. When you come into the United States illegally, you do not have the option of filling out the paperwork to become a citizen. You have to go back to your country and apply. It could take decades for this to happen. And in the meantime they would be back in a country that they chose to leave because of severe economic situations. These girls are in a no-win situation.

If you missed the conversation, check the Realgoodwords archive here.

I realized when I talked with MN author Julie Klassen that I tend to read the same kinds of novels, and don't really seek out new and different kinds. I am a contemporary reader. In fact, there are many classics that people can't believe I haven't read. For that reason I might have passed right by Julie's novel "the Silent Governess" because it would have been in either the historical fiction or the inspirational fiction section. Because she was nominated for a MN Book Award I decided to take a chance. And I found a strong storyteller that pulled me out of my contemporary rut to Jane Austen-era England.

This week I realized why I read. There is always something new to learn.

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