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Resources for Teaching The Devil's Highway


     SAN ANTONIO—In commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month, has launched a “One Brown Book, One Nation” reading program to highlight Latino literature across the United States.
     After extensive review, the inaugural selection is The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea.  The Devil’s Highway is the true story of a group of 26 Mexicans who attempted to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border on foot into the desert of southern Arizona and only 12 survived the journey. Published in 2004, The Devil's Highway was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction the following year.
     “The ‘One Brown Book’ project arises out of the need to highlight literature by the largest minority group in the U.S.,” said Dr. Jose B. Gonzalez, Professor of English, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and co-founder of “The idea for the project came to me out of a need to make readers of the U.S. aware of the power and beauty of Latino literature.”
     The nationwide committee which selected Urrea’s book was composed of Vincent Bosquez, president of the Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers of San Antonio; Marcela Landres, editorial consultant and publisher of Latinidad (NYC); and elena minor, editor of PALABRA: A Magazine of Chicano and Latino Literary Art (LA).
     According to minor, The Devil’s Highway is an excellent starting point for a discussion of the country’s current immigration issues and their causes. Committee members agree with her assessment.“The Devil’s Highway is not only a gorgeously written work of art, it is also a powerful commentary on the current debate regarding illegal immigration,” Landres said. “Regardless of your position on the politics, this book will both move you and stun you.”
     Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) celebrates the culture and traditions of U.S. residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Sept. 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.