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March 2 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
An Evening With Ruth Behar and Richard Blanco
Books & Books presents…
AN EVENING WITH RUTH BEHAR
in conversation with
(Nancy Paulsen Books, $17.99)
Saturday, March 2, 7 PM | Books & Books, Coral Gables
Books & Books is proud to present an evening with Ruth Behar as she discusses her new middle grade novel: Across So Many Seas (Nancy Paulsen Books, $17.99) She will be in conversation with Richard Blanco.
This event is FREE and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase the night of the event! Please RSVP only if you intend to join us.
About the Book:
“As lyrical as it is epic, Across So Many Seas reminds us that while the past may be another country, it’s also a living, breathing song of sadness and joy that helps define who we are.” –Alan Gratz, New York Times bestselling author of Refugee
Spanning over 500 years, Pura Belpré Award winner Ruth Behar’s epic novel tells the stories of four girls from different generations of a Jewish family, many of them forced to leave their country and start a new life.
In 1492, during the Spanish Inquisition, Benvenida and her family are banished from Spain for being Jewish, and must flee the country or be killed. They journey by foot and by sea, eventually settling in Istanbul.
Over four centuries later, in 1923, shortly after the Turkish war of independence, Reina’s father disowns her for a small act of disobedience. He ships her away to live with an aunt in Cuba, to be wed in an arranged marriage when she turns fifteen.
In 1961, Reina’s daughter, Alegra, is proud to be a brigadista, teaching literacy in the countryside for Fidel Castro. But soon Castro’s crackdowns force her to flee to Miami all alone, leaving her parents behind.
Finally, in 2003, Alegra’s daughter, Paloma, is fascinated by all the journeys that had to happen before she could be born. A keeper of memories, she’s thrilled by the opportunity to learn more about her heritage on a family trip to Spain, where she makes a momentous discovery.
Though many years and many seas separate these girls, they are united by a love of music and poetry, a desire to belong and to matter, a passion for learning, and their longing for a home where all are welcome. And each is lucky to stand on the shoulders of their courageous ancestors.
About the Author:
Ruth Behar (ruthbehar.com), the Pura Belpré Award-winning author of Lucky Broken Girl and Letters from Cuba, was born in Havana, Cuba, grew up in New York, and has also lived in Spain and Mexico. Her work also includes poetry, memoir, and the acclaimed travel books An Island Called Home and Traveling Heavy. She was the first Latina to win a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, and other honors include a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and being named a “Great Immigrant” by the Carnegie Corporation. An anthropology professor at the University of Michigan, she lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
About the Moderator:
Selected by President Obama as the fifth Presidential Inaugural Poet in U.S. history, Richard Blanco was the youngest, the first Latinx, immigrant, and gay person to serve in that role. In 2023, Blanco was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Biden from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Born in Madrid to Cuban exile parents and raised in Miami in a working-class family, Blanco’s personal negotiation of cultural identity and the universal themes of place and belonging characterize Blanco’s many collections of poetry, including his most recent, Homeland of My Body, which reassess traditional notions of home as strictly a geographical, tangible place that merely exist outside us, but rather, within us. He has also authored the memoirs FOR ALL OF US, ONE TODAY: AN INAUGURAL POET’S JOURNEY and THE PRINCE OF LOS COCUYOS: A MIAMI CHILDHOOD. Blanco has received numerous awards, including the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize, the PEN American Beyond Margins Award, the Patterson Prize, and a Lambda Prize for memoir. He was Woodrow Wilson Fellow and has received numerous honorary degrees. Currently, he serves as Education Ambassador for The Academy of American Poets and is an Associate Professor at Florida International University. In April 2022, Blanco was appointed the first-ever Poet Laureate of Miami-Dade County.