Mirta Ojito won a shared Pulitzer for national reporting in 2001 for a New York Times series of articles about race in America. Her new book turns to the topic of immigration reform. It is a nonfiction account of a group of teenagers who killed an Ecuadoren immigrant one November night 5 years ago in the small town of Patchogue, New York, on Long Island.
For more — NPR recently did an excellent, short interview with the author and posted an excerpt from the book. It was interesting to me that Ojito was drawn to the story after one of her students at Columbia Journalism School produced a documentary on the case.
For a YA novel on the same topic, point your readers to Lie by Caroline Bock.
* OJITO, Mirta. Hunting Season: Immigration and Murder in an All-American Town. 280p. bibliog. notes. Beacon. 2013.Tr $24.95. ISBN 9780807001813; ebk. ISBN 9780807001820.
Adult/High School–Late on an autumn evening in 2008 in the town of Patchougue, New York, a group of bored teenaged boys set out, as they often did, to find some immigrants to harass and beat up. When they came upon a pair of Ecuadorian men walking near the train station, they proceeded to surround them. One of the men took off his belt and began swinging it to keep the boys away. Surprised by his resistance (a man they’d accosted earlier that night had run away), the boys closed in, one of them brandishing a knife with which he stabbed and killed Marcello Lucero. Coming as it did within a week of the election of Barack Obama, and after months of televised vitriol about illegal immigrants from pundits such as Bill O’Reilly and Lou Dobbs, the murder became emblematic of America’s profound and often tragic struggle with immigration. Ojito goes behind the headlines of the murder to reveal the complex issues that confront immigrants and the communities into which they are trying to assimilate. She weaves together interviews with family and friends of the victim and community residents, politicians, and activists as well as with the families of the perpetrators to create a disturbing portrayal of the nightmare that accompanies pursuit of the American Dream. Hunting Season is a remarkable contribution to American sociology and deserves reading by anyone seeking a better understanding of the human conditions that shape this country’s immigration issues. This book belongs in every high school library.–John Sexton, Greenburgh Public Library, NY