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Global Read

In the tradition of the “Big Read” and the “Brookdale Read,” Brookdale’s International Education Center (IEC) and The Global Citizenship Project (GCP) is organizing a common intellectual experience focused on a text that addresses the theme of “Immigrants and Refugees.” This year, we’ve selected a homegrown text: Pointed Toward the Sun (click link for PDF) which has been compiled by English professor Donna Pope. This moving and insightful multidisciplinary text contains numerical data, historical research, and personal essays. Its organized table of contents makes it easy to select relevant works that can be integrated into a variety of classes. Please email Kelsey Maki ( if you have any questions, comments, or concerns about this text. If you’d like printed copies of the text, they can be ordered through the bookstore for a small fee, please contact Heather Revesz ( for more information.

Listed below are the thematic contents of Pointed Toward the Sun

Information Resources and Statistics

  • “Research Guide on Immigration” by Valerie Bonilla (Librarian): An overview of statistics, search terms, and educational resources

Bold Beliefs: Personal Essays     

  • “What Would I Do?” by Ashley Zampogna-Krug (History Professor): An American mother contemplates the plight of immigrants and refugees
  • “The Reverse of Life” by Garingchar Compas (Student): A student recounts the way in which the earthquake in Haiti affected his future
  • “Sati and Sampajanna” by Bulan Thassanid (Student): An examination of how the teachings of Buddhism helped one student persevere through hard times and find happiness

Historical Research and Ancestry Studies    

  •  “The Message is in the Bell” by Nathalie Darden (Math Professor): An educator researches her family history, detailing the challenges of immigration, interracial marriage, civil rights, and how her mother’s singular focus kept her going.
  • “Excerpt from Bridget’s Hanging” by Sheila Duane (English Professor): An accomplished writer weaves a beautiful, yet tragic tale of Irish immigrants on a boat headed for the United States. Based on a true story.
  • “My Immigrants” by Caroline Calogero (Sociology Professor): The story of a hardworking family from Italy, whose cultural connections persist through generations
  • “An Ancestry of Assimilation: Russian Ashkenazi Immigration to the US” by Adam Hostetter (student): An essay that blends research and family history to shed light on the plight of Russian Jews
  • “A Hungarian Immigration Story of 1978” by Hope Kubinak (student): A research essay depicting a Hungarian family’s escape from communist Romania

Dreamers: Personal Stories and Research Writing   

  • “Carrying Our Dreams” by Veronica Vasquez Mendez (student): A mother shares her hopes for her children in the United States
  • “Nine Numbers” by Noelia Jimenez-Rojas (Student): An education major recalls her path to be the first associate degree holder in her family
  • “Dreaming in a Foreign Land” by Jesus Mamani (Student): A research essay that argues for citizenship for DACA recipients

Personal Stories: Crossing Borders and Striving for Something Better 

  • “The Power of Change” by Rania Targali (Student): A mother leaves Jordan to join her husband in the US and unify her family
  • “Was I Right?” by Cristiane da Silva (Student): A young woman leaves home to pursue her education and better the lives of her family members
  • “Together Once Again” by Yaet Martinez (Student): An emotional story detailing a mother’s separation and eventual unification with her children—as they make a home in the US
  • “Saying Goodbye” by Sandra Da Silva (Student): A powerful story in which a mother and her children flee an abusive home

Personal Stories: Ambitions and Accomplishments

  • “No Longer Alien” by Maryam Salib (Student): The vivid story of a woman who leaves Egypt as a young girl and eventually overcomes a profound sense of cultural dislocation
  • “2,904 Miles Later” by Kimberly Fawcett (Student): A daughter pays homage to her heroic mother, originally from Ecuador
  • “Being a Leader While Being an Introvert” by Angela Casallas (Student): A Columbian chef and business owner realizes her dream to study in the US and advance her career
  • “A Better Future” by Maryam Shafai (Student): An Iranian woman recounts her challenges and those of her husband to obtain a visa to enter the US

Personal Stories: The Challenges of Home    

  • “Huge Changes” by Ruija Lin (Student): A young woman struggles to live without electricity and running water, but realizes that these challenges pale in comparison to the physical decline of a loved one
  • “Earthquake in Kashmir” by Abdullah Khan (Student): A college student in Kashmir offers a first-hand account of the earthquake that killed many of his peers

Personal Stories: Search for Belonging    

  • “An Adventurous Experience” by Ping Phillips (Student): A mother’s quest to find a suitable home for herself and her daughter in Ocean County, NJ
  • “My Odd English Speaking” by Nhu Vu (Student): A woman recounts her challenging and humorous experience with personal pronouns in English
  • “My Immigration Experience” by N. Rajkumari Wesley (Psychology Professor): An immigrant, and future academic, tells the heartening story of the way in which her family from India enriched a community
  • “Identity, with Subtitles” by Donna Pope (English Professor): The experience of a privileged American college student in Honduras—it could be an existential crisis, or just a coming of age tale

Previously Selected Texts

  • In summer 2016, GCP voted for Tracy Kidder’s nonfiction text Mountains Beyond Mountains to be the featured text for our first-ever global read held in spring 2017. This engaging book chronicles the humanitarian work of Dr. Paul Farmer, an anthropologist and an infectious disease doctor working in Haiti. The book—rich in its themes, motifs, and allusions—can be integrated into a wide range of disciplines.