“A Home on the Field” by UNC Professor is Summer Reading Choice for 2009

February 11, 2009

The 2009 Summer Reading Program Book Selection Committee at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has chosen “A Home on the Field” by Paul Cuadros.

As part of its Summer Reading Program, UNC asks all first-year and incoming transfer students to read a book during the summer and participate in small group discussions led by faculty and staff once they arrive on campus. The voluntary non-credit assignment, an academic icebreaker, stimulates critical thinking outside the classroom environment and encourages new students to engage in the academic community.

Carolina’s program, now in its 11th year, focuses on discussion and dialogue, creating an intellectual climate in which students can come to their own conclusions and turn information into insight.

“A Home on the Field,” published in 2006, explores class and ethnic conflict through the story of a Latino high school soccer team in Siler City, N.C. Despite significant social and immigration hurdles, the team climbed to a state championship under Cuadros’ coaching. The book offers insight into the complex issue of Latino immigrants coming to North Carolina to seek better lives and steady work but encountering significant resistance.

A nine-member book selection committee of students, faculty and staff began meeting last fall to consider books for this year’s program.

Committee chairman John McGowan, Ruel W. Tyson, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Humanities and Director, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, said the book documents the evolving relationships between immigrants with long-time residents of Siler City – both black and white – as well as with those left behind in Mexico and Central America.

“He raises tough questions about what services and opportunities the state of North Carolina should make available to these immigrants,” McGowan said, expressing confidence that the book will spark conversations among the incoming class. “We are also thrilled that our students will be reading a book written by a UNC faculty member and one that is about North Carolina today.”

An award-winning investigative reporter specializing in issues of race and poverty, Cuadros joined the Carolina faculty in July 2007 as assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The committee chose “A Home on the Field” from 239 book recommendations from students, alumni, faculty and community members. Four other books were considered as finalists: “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely; “Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran” by Azadeh Moaveni; “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin; and “The Free Men” by John Ehle.

Since its 1999 inception, the summer reading program has featured the following books: “There Are No Children Here” by Alex Kotlowitz; “Confederates in the Attic” by Tony Horwitz; “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” by Anne Fadiman; “Approaching the Qur’an” by Michael Sells; “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America” by Barbara Ehrenreich; “Absolutely American: Four Years at West Point” by David Lipsky; “Blood Done Sign My Name” by Timothy B. Tyson; “The Namesake” by Jhumpa Lahiri; “The Death of the Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions” by Sister Helen Prejean; and “Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights” by Kenji Yoshino.

Summer Reading Program Web site:http://www.harpercollins.com/books/9780061120282/A_Home_on_the_Field/index.aspx

Note: McGowan can be reached at (919) 962-4022, jpm@email.unc.edu

Summer Reading Program contact: April Mann, (919) 360-3069, mailto: asmann@email.unc.edu

News Services contact: Lisa Katz, (919) 962-2093, lisa_katz@unc.edu