book cover

Incoming students share 'Enrique’s Journey'

July 23, 2015

By Summer Tillman
ECU News Services

“Enrique’s Journey,” the true story of a Honduran boy’s journey to find his mother, has been selected as the 2015 Pirate Read at East Carolina University.

All incoming students are asked to read the book before beginning their first semester.

The book tells the story of a boy named Enrique who sets out on a perilous voyage in search of his mother, who had left 11 years earlier to find work in the United States.
Sonia Nazario

Enrique clings to the tops of freight trains, dodges criminals and struggles to stay alive on his 2,000-mile journey. He travels to North Carolina before making his way to Florida.

“Enrique’s Journey” is based on a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning series published by the Los Angeles Times. It was adapted into a book by author Sonia Nazario, an award-winning journalist whose work explores immigration issues in America. She also was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for a series on children of drug-addicted parents. Nazario will visit ECU on March 31, 2016.

Karen Smith, a co-chair of the Pirate Read committee, said the book was selected for its comprehensive subject matter. “The committee felt ‘Enrique’s Journey’ presented current topics that are applicable across a variety of disciplines including immigration, family dynamics, journalism, assimilation and acculturation and social justice,” said Smith.

“A common read allows students to have a shared experience with which to discuss ideas with fellow classmates, faculty and staff,” she said. “The Pirate Read also orients students to the academic community and prepares them for the college-level environment.”

“Enrique’s Journey” is a national bestseller and required reading at hundreds of high schools and colleges across the country. The book has won more than a dozen awards including the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing, the George Polk Award for International Reporting, the Grand Prize of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Guillermo Martinez-Márquez Award for Overall Excellence. It has been published in more than eight languages.

Previous Pirate Read books include “The Other Wes Moore,” ”It Happened on the Way to War,” and “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Jacks.” This is the eighth year of the Pirate Read program.