On Friday, March 11, author Cristina Henriquez came to Van Buren High School to talk about her novel, The Book of Unknown Americans. Seniors in Advanced Placement English and members of Books n’ Brownies attended the presentation along with students from Van Buren, Corey Rawson, and Arcadia.
Henriquez shared that she did not want to stand at the podium and talk about herself the whole time. After a short introduction about herself, she opened the floor for questions.
Senior Lena Kennedy was one of the students that asked Henriquez a question.
“What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?” Kennedy said.
Henriquez replied that you should write for yourself and don’t worry about your audience.
Senior Jordan Jones questioned why Henriquez chose to kill off an important character.
“I wanted you to feel something,” Henriquez said.
Senior Alexandria Tong asked Henriquez if she has gotten any negative backlash from people who have read the book since the plot involves immigration.
“The book is not about immigration. The point of the book is to tell the story of the immigrant,” Henriquez said.
Henriquez went on to say that when she goes to the movies, she wants to get emotionally attached to the character; the same holds true to the characters in her books. She added that when her mother read the book, she was also upset about the death of the important character.
All of the questions were not focused around her book. There was some light conversation about her family, her favorite book (Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five), and who is her favorite judge on The Voice.
After questions were answered, Henriquez signed student’s books and took pictures with anyone who wanted one.