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  • Whittier Reads 2023

Whittier Reads is an annual citywide literary event that encourages members of the Whittier community to read the same book at the same time and then discuss it in book groups and participate in special programs which are offered at our Libraries.

The Whittier Public Library Foundation has been the sponsor for this community-wide program from its inception since 2004 and has provided funding for the implementation of this program.

The Whittier Public Library in partnership with the Foundation will offer a variety of programs throughout the month of April for the community.

The selection for the 2023 Whittier Reads is Solito, by Javier Zamora.

solito book cover


Trip. My parents started using that word about a year ago—"one day, you'll make a trip to be with us. Like an adventure."

Javier Zamora's adventure is a three-thousand-mile journey from his small town in El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, and across the U.S. border. He will leave behind his beloved aunt and grandparents to reunite with a mother who left four years ago and a father he barely remembers. Traveling alone amid a group of strangers and a "coyote" hired to lead them to safety, Javier expects his trip to last two short weeks.

At nine years old, all Javier can imagine is rushing into his parents' arms, snuggling in bed between them, and living under the same roof again. He cannot foresee the perilous boat trips, relentless desert treks, pointed guns, arrests and deceptions that await him; nor can he know that those two weeks will expand into two life-altering months alongside fellow migrants who will come to encircle him like an unexpected family.inside the book jacket

Copies of Solito are available for checkout at both Libraries.  Books will be available for purchase at both libraries starting March 1.

About the Author

Javier Zamora was born in La Herradura, El Salvador in 1990. When he was a year old, his father fled El Salvador due to the U.S.-funded Salvadoran Civil War (1980-1992). His mother followed her husband's footsteps in 1995 when Javier was about to turn 5. Zamora was left at the care of his grandparents who helped raise him until he migrated to the US when he was nine.

In his debut New York Times bestselling memoir, Solito (Hogarth, September 2022), Zamora retells his nine-week odyssey across Guatemala, Mexico, and eventually through the Sonoran Desert. He travelled unaccompanied by boat, bus, and foot. After a coyoted abandoned his group in Oaxaca, Javier managed to make it to Arizona with the aid of other migrants.

Zamora was a 2018-2019 Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University and holds fellowships from CantoMundo, Colgate University (Olive B. O'Connor), MacDowell, Macondo, the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation (Ruth Lilly), Stanford University (Stegner), and Yaddo. He is the recipient of a 2017 Lannan Literary Fellowship, the 2017 Narrative Prize, and the 2016 Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award for his work in the Undocupoets Campaign.From http://www.javierzamora.net

Javier Zamora pic


Tuesday, April 4:

  • Erick Galindo - Award-winning writer and podcaster - Central Library @ 6:00pm

Thursday, April 13:

  • Dr. Rafael Chabran - Discussing the literature of migration - Central Library @ 6:00pm - Free

Wednesday, April 19:

  • Wednesday Night Book Group Discussion on Solito - Central Library @ 6:00pm - Free (The author will not be present)

Tuesday, April 25:

  • Dr. Kathie O'Gorman - "Solito from Another Perspective: Interviewing Detained Immigrant Children" - Central Library @ 6:00pm - Free

Thursday, April 27:

  • Author Talk - Author Javier Zamora will discuss his book Solito - Central Library @ 5:00pm - Free
  • Author Reception & Dinner - Central Library @ 7:00pm - Catered by "What's That You're Cookin?"
    Tickets: $60 general public / $55 for WPL Foundation members
    Tickets can be purchased online at https://whittierplf.org/dinner-with-author/

Library Locations

Whittier Central Library

7344 Washington Ave.
Whittier, CA 90602
(562) 567-9900

Mon-Wed 10am - 8pm
Thu-Sat 10am - 5pm
Sun - Closed

Veterans Resource Center
Mon-Fri 10am - 2pm
Please call 562-567-9900 for questions

Passport Processing
By appointment only:
Mon-Fri 10am - 6pm
Sat 10am - 2pm

Whittwood Branch Library

10537 Santa Gertrudes Ave.
Whittier, CA 90603
(562) 567-9950

Mon-Wed 10am - 8pm
Thur - Sat 10am - 5pm
Sun - Closed

Passport Processing
By appointment only: www.whittierlibrary.org/services/passport-services
Mon-Fri 10am - 6pm
Sat 10am - 2pm