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University of Dayton Magazine
Ana Castillo

Banning books, building bridges

11:49 AM  Nov 30th, 2012
by Teri Rizvi

Addressing the anti-immigration sentiment in some parts of the country, Chicano writer Ana Castillo quietly read a passage from her novel So Far From God to a crowded Kennedy Union Ballroom Nov. 29.

“This is one of my stories that is a threat to the sovereignty of the nation,” said Castillo, who traveled to Tucson, Ariz., earlier this year to talk to high school students after the Tucson Unified School District included two of her books on a lengthy banned book list. Even Shakespeare’s The Tempest didn’t make the cut.  Her collection of 23 stories, Loverboys, also was singled out after the school district dismantled its Mexican-American Studies Program.

“These would not be the books, if I were on a censorship committee, that I would put on a list of banned books,” she said. “I’ve been an advocate for building bridges, building caucuses. …I find things we have more in common with people than not.”

Born and raised in Chicago, Castillo credits the rich storytelling tradition of her Mexican heritage as the foundation for her writing, which centers around identity, racism and classism. Her appearance was part of the University of Dayton Speaker Series.

Next on tap: Eboo Patel, author, founder and executive director of the Interfaith Youth Core. He will offer a free talk at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 22, in the RecPlex as part of the annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebration.

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