CapRadio Reads

CapRadio Reads is a book club and online reading community, hosted by Capital Public Radio. Moderator Vicki Lorini and host Donna Apidone encourage you to participate in person or on the website.

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We Never Asked For Wings

May 2016 book selection

We Never Asked For Wings

by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

May 4, 2016

"April is a promise that Spring is bound to keep.” Borland was right. Last month gave us warming temperatures and a few showers, and it brought us firmly into May. With this beautiful month, we will meet to talk about Vanessa Diffenbaugh's We Never Asked for Wings.

Whether or not you have finished the book, the story has likely prompted thoughts and questions about the criminal justice system as it relates to minors and undocumented immigrants. In this novel, the characters come from Mexico, but their experiences apply to people escaping terrible conditions all around the world. The United States has laws to help protect minors, but what about children migrating in other countries?

Even though this story is fiction, we relate to the very real emotions, which can inspire some intense conversations. Let's see if this is the case on Tuesday, May 10th. We have two meetings planned – 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. I look forward to seeing you there.

April 27, 2016

Letty needs some help. Her parents took care of her kids for years, but they have moved away. Now Letty has to figure out the duties of motherhood. Foster care is one of her options.

The subject of foster care is not new to Vanessa Diffenbaugh, who created the character of Letty in We Never Asked for Wings. When she writes about children and parents in peril, she is writing from experience. She is the mother of two children who came from the foster care system. 

Diffenbaugh founded The Camellia Network, which morphed into Youth Villages, an organization for kids who have aged out of foster care. She has seen the struggles of parents and their children, and she knows that sometimes the best option for everyone in a family is separation.

Letty is not always a good mother, and that makes her situation fodder for conversation. At our May meeting, we’ll talk about Letty’s fictitious life, knowing her fictitious life parallels real many real moms. Was she right to keep her kids, even when doing so put them in danger? Would she or her children have benefitted from placement in foster care?

We will cover these questions, and more, when we discuss We Never Asked for Wings. Join us at one of two meetings on May 10. Reserve your space for 2 p.m. or 6 p.m.

April 20, 2016

We Never Asked for Wings is filled with references to birds, feathers and flight. Author Vanessa Diffenbaugh found the perfect quote to describe characters who are learning to fly. It comes from Jennifer K. Sweeney’s In Flight:

“The Himalayan legend says there are beautiful white birds that live completely in flight. They are born in the air, must learn to fly before falling and die also in their flying.”

Letty, a young single mother, is faced with having to raise her own children for the first time. Her parents, who have provided love and care for Letty's two children, have gone back to Mexico. Letty doesn't know what it is to be a real mother, and she has to give it her full attention to her new role. 

Like many writers, Diffenbaugh says, she was instructed to write what she knows. Like Letty, she had much to learn.

Please join us on Tuesday, May 10, at 2pm or 6pm to discuss this moving book.  See you there. 

April 13, 2016

Our May meetings are going to be extra special. We'll be reading Vanessa Diffenbaugh's latest book, We Never Asked for Wings, which I believe you will enjoy. Diffenbaugh tackles a subject near and dear to her heart -- children. 

Letty Espinosa is an undocumented immigrant living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Poverty, fear and anxiety are regular parts of life for her and her children. Yet, like all Diffenbaugh's characters, these people have a sense of grace about them. 

Please join us at one of our two sessions on May 10th – 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. We already have a reservation from a reader who will visit from New Braunfels, Texas. Word is spreading. CapRadioReads is the best book club anywhere.