A good read, and a chance for understanding, is under way with the 2012 version of Hood River County Reads.
The book selections for 2012 are "The Circuit" and "La Mariposa," by Francisco Jiménez.
Friends of the Library, under the leadership of the late Pat Hazlehurst, started Hood River County Reads in 2005.
This year, Spanish-speaking residents of the mid-valley are using "The Circuit" as a chance to improve their English language skills. Under teacher Gail Arnold's tutelage, the group of Mexican-Americans meets with volunteers at the Odell FISH food bank to read. Spending time together over "the Circuit" also gives the students the chance to share their own experiences as immigrants.
The Hood River County Library District kicked off the annual "Hood River County Reads" Sunday at the Hood River Library. The program continues through April 23, and will include conversations with the author and a variety of children's activities. Kickoffs at the Parkdale and Cascade Locks branches were March 13.
"The Circuit" is the first of a three-part memoir describing the author's coming from Mexico as an illegal immigrant in the 1940s and his journey toward becoming an "American."
"La Mariposa" is an illustrated children's book based on a story from "The Circuit."
Copies of "The Circuit" will are available for free at the library branches, in both English and Spanish, including the second and third parts of Jimenez's memoir -"Breaking Through" and "Reaching Out."
Hood River County Reads is a countywide project sponsored by the Friends of the Hood River County Library. The goal of the community reading program is to encourage readers of all ages to read and discuss books. The mission is to choose books and authors that represent the diversity of our community and can be shared with individuals and families throughout the area.
The full schedule of events is on the library's website, www.hoodriverlibrary.org.
"The Circuit" provides personal and moving glimpses into the lives of immigrants, and their struggles with finding work, caring for their families, learning English and preserving their traditions in the face of unfamiliar places and trying circumstances.
Yet the travails of the immigrant families, as described in the book, have a universal quality. Most of us can relate to the minor or major challenges of dealing with family expectations, education, the dynamics of friendships and even health problems and poverty.
If you are looking for a good book, and are open to the idea of some interaction with fellow residents on the story and meaning of that book, it's not too late to get involved in "Hood River County Reads."
Thomas Cameron, Coast Guard
Gov. John Kitzhaber ordered all flags at public institutions to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday, March 12, in honor of Coast Guard LTJG Thomas Cameron.
"Lieutenant Cameron represents the best of Oregon and the United States Coast Guard," said Kitzhaber. "His dedication and commitment serve as an example to us. While his death is a tragic loss, his legacy will live on with all of those whom he inspired."
LTJG Cameron, 24, of Portland, died Feb. 28 when the helicopter carrying him and three other crew members crashed in Mobile Bay. He was assigned to the Coast Guard's Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Ala.