Book To Action

Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen

image of author jose antonio vargas with book to action logo and book title dear america

Book to Action is an initiative for libraries to connect with their communities to tackle important issues and encourage reading, discussion, and action. For centuries, the rich farmland of the Pajaro Valley has attracted immigrants from across the world. This summer, the Watsonville Public Library has partnered with the Santa Cruz Public Libraries to create a Book to Action Series for adults and teens that examines the themes of equity, immigration, citizenship, and identity.

Together, we will READ and DISCUSS Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas then ACT to move the needle on issues related to these themes. Along with a host of other community organizations, we are pleased to offer community-centered programming that will foster meaningful conversations and actions to create a more equitable environment that respects the dignity and value of our immigrant communities. To learn more about our Book to Action 2021 initiative and register for library programs visit Santa Cruz Public Libraries website

If you would like to READ, DISCUSS, and ACT as part of our Book to Action 2021 community read initiative, you may pick up a copy of Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas at our participating libraries.

Book to Action Programs

discusiones en espanol sobre el libro querida america by jose antonio vargas

Dear America Book Discussion in Spanish
Wednesday, June 2nd
9am - 11am

Interested in exploring themes of equity, identity, and community? Watsonville Public Library will be hosting two special Spanish-language book discussions in which we will discuss Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas. Those interested in attending are welcome to attend both or one of the two book group sessions. Please register for Zoom access link

This program will be facilitated in Spanish. 

discusiones en espanol sobre el libro querida america by jose antonio vargas

Dear America Book Discussion in Spanish
Wednesday, June 16th
9am - 11am

Interested in exploring themes of equity, identity, and community? Watsonville Public Library will be hosting two special Spanish-language book discussions in which we will discuss Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas. Those interested in attending are welcome to attend both or one of the two book group sessions. Please register for Zoom access link

This program will be facilitated in Spanish.

watsonville is in the heart oral history project - learn about this project at the upcoming panel

Watsonville is in the Heart Oral History Project Panel
Thursday, June 17th
6pm - 7:30pm

In this program we will talk with Roy Recio, founder of the Tobera Project and curator of the "Watsonville is in the Heart" exhibit. Roy Recio, other members of the Filipino community, and UCSC graduate students will share their passion for a new project aimed at preserving the local history and heritage of Filipino families in Santa Cruz County -- the "Watsonville is in the Heart: Oral History Project." Panelists will share what draws them to this work and why these stories are so important. Please register for the Webinar


documentary screening of "documented" by jose antonio vargas and picture from movie

Film Screening of the Documentary "Documented"
Friday June 18th - Saturday July 3rd
Stream Online Anytime

The film “Documented” by author Jose Antonio Vargas will be available for library patrons to view online.. “Documented” tells Vargas’ powerful story of coming to the United States from the Philippines at age 12, fulfilling his academic dreams and finding his voice as a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. Vargas shares his journey of finally going public with his status as an undocumented immigrant and founding the nonprofit Define American dedicated to humanizing conversations about immigrants.

Please register to receive the access link to the documentary.

The virtual edition documentary will be available in English.  Watsonville Public Library has a physical DVD version of this documentary available for check out that features English, Tagalog, and Spanish languages, and with English captions.

dear america notes of an undocumented citizen with picture of book cover and author jose antoio varg

Author Talk with Jose Antonio Vargas
Thursday, June 24th
7pm - 8pm 

Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, takes audiences deeper into his story, sharing details of his journey to America from the Philippines as a child; his journey through America as an immigration reform activist; and his journey inward as he re-connects with his mother, whom he hadn't seen in person in over 20 years. With anecdotes from both his own story and the struggles of countless other undocumented immigrants in America, Vargas poignantly explores one of the most divisive questions facing our country today: how do you define “American”?

This program will be facilitated in English, with simultaneous Spanish interpretation.

This program is being done in partnership with Watsonville Public Library and Sunnyvale Public Library for Book to Action 2021.

Register to receive Zoom instructions for attendance. If you’d like to ask Jose a question, fill out this form online. We will consolidate questions and do our best to ask as many as time permits.

english language book discussion of dear america by jose antonio vargas

Dear America Book Discussion in English
Saturday, July 17th
10am - 11am

Interested in talking about Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas but not part of an established book group? This special one-time book discussion group is for anyone interested in talking about the book and its themes of equity, identity, and community. Please register for Zoom access link

This program will be facilitated in English. 

This Book to Action Series is a partnership between Santa Cruz Public LibrariesSunnyvale Public Library, and Watsonville Public Library and made possible by the California Center for the Book