Adding Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario to its repertoire, the fourth annual UCSB Reads program kicks off today with a 2,500 book giveaway.

In keeping with this year’s theme of “Beyond Borders: The Human Experience,” Enrique’s Journey explores the true story of a Honduran boy who overcomes insurmountable obstacles to travel to the United States in search of his mother. University and library officials held an opening event at Davidson Library yesterday evening to preview the release of Nazario’s work to the campus. Copies of the book will be distributed by Chancellor Henry T. Yang and his wife Dilling, among others, today at 8 a.m. in Davidson Library.

“We want to share and talk about great ideas that we uncover,” University Librarian Brenda Johnson said. “This is really the power of books and this is what we are celebrating today and all quarter long. … We’re on the verge of a reading renaissance and I think that’s very exciting.”

First implemented by Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas, UCSB Reads is an annual Winter Quarter event organized by Davidson Library to encourage discussion among the student body around a specially selected book.

“This year I read all kinds of different books,” Lucas said. “When I ran across this one, it was an obvious choice. … Enrique’s Journey is a number of journeys for all of us.”

For those who can’t make it to Davidson today to nab a copy of the book, UCSB Reads will chronicle summaries of the book every day on Twitter, following Enrique’s path on a specialized Google Map. Both links are accessible at

Additionally, KCSB is looking for reading volunteers to host daily half-hour readings of the book.

Writing program lecturer John Catalini said he uses the program’s books in his courses, a tradition he said connects himself and his students with the library.

Angela Mathews, one of the students in Catalini’s visual art-based writing class, said she’s looking forward to the debates the book will provoke.

“I think immigration is an issue that needs to be discussed within the university,” Mathews, a third-year Spanish and film & media studies major, said. “It’s a good opportunity for the different writing classes to come together and discuss this issue as a team.”

Complimenting UCSB’s focus on Enrique’s Journey, Nazario will lecture on the book on Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Campbell Hall, with tickets provided to the student body at no cost.