Radio Readers Book Club

 HPPR Radio Readers Book Club is an on-air, on-line community of readers exploring themes of common interest to those who live and work on the High Plains. 


The 2017 Fall Read's theme is Food and Story.  You'll find the thoughts and ideas about books from Radio Readers through a series of BookBytes posted below.  Of you'd like to contribute a BookByte yourself, simply contact Kathleen Holt at for more information.

Please join to become an HPPR Radio Reader today. 

Join the Book Club! 

Join the discussion and like us on Facebook!



One Neighbor's Story - Uganda to the High Plains

Oct 5, 2016
Dodge City Community College

Mohammad Omar - Hi, my mane is Mohammad Omar.  I am from Africa, especially Uganda.  I am here since 2014, but I am living now in Dodge City.  I like Dodge City, Kansas, because we have a lot of work here.  Before I am working Tyson Food.  I start again Cargill Company.  Now I am working three years at National Beef.  So, we are happy to be here in Kansas, Dodge City.

The Fall Read - Refugees on the High Plains

Oct 4, 2016

As the Radio Readers move on from this month’s book Enrique’s Journey to October’s read, Dave Eggar’s book on the story Somali immigrants titled What is the What, we continue themes of separation from family, intense dangers in fleeing one’s homeland and eventual settlement and adjustment to life in the U.S. In the past decade, Amarillo has welcomed a large refugee resettlement program placing refugees from the likes of Burma, Iran, Iraq, Congo, Syria, Afghanistan, and Cuba among other countries.

What Kind of Book is This?

Oct 3, 2016

Since August, Radio Readers have shared stories about borders and becoming. Our stories have been prompted by the books in our Fall read: Cather’s My Antonia and Nazario’s Enrique’s Journey.

The third book in this series is Dave Eggers’ 2006 novel, What is the What : The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng.  Recognized by various organizations as a “best” and “notable” book, What is the What is titled an autobiography, described as a novel, yet frequently classified as social history.

Why They Come Here

Sep 22, 2016
ANNE HOLT, Edina, Minnesota

Following is a provocative story shared by a reader.  On Sunday, November 13, 2016, HPPR Radio Readers Book Club will be discussing thoughts about immigrants and their stories.  We hope you'll join us.

From Anne --

I know. You want me to shut up. I love you, but I don't care.

On this day two years ago, I, along with some of the best human beings I know, visited a wall with nearly 30,000 names of human beings who were killed or disappeared in El Salvador during the 1980s. And it’s said to be an incomplete list.

Our Neighbors - One Woman's Story

Sep 21, 2016

Maria:  I came here because I love this country.  I came here to see my sister.  I was in Mexico and I came crossing the river.  The Rio Bravo.  It was dangerous.  It was hard.  But I came here because the life is better than my country.  This is a blessed country.  I love this country.

I find good job.  I have a good life here because now I can help the people. When the people have problems, they ask me what they need to do to solve their problems.  Can I help them. 

Where I'm From

Sep 19, 2016

Hi, I’m Lynn Boitano in Garden City Kansas for the HPPR Readers Reader’s Book Club exploring the theme: Stories, Borders and Becoming.  Reading our recent book Enrique’s Journey I’m reminded of the indelible impressions that our families make on us through the daily routines, traditions, sacrifices and time spent together. 

All of these interactions accumulate to create our family story.  As a 6th grade reading teacher in district that’s rich in cultural diversity I’ve had the opportunity to get a glimpse into my students’ family stories and witness the strong bonds that bind families together across many cultures.

One Neighbor's Story - Looking Back

Sep 16, 2016

Marcos: My name is Marcos Morales Satino.  I am glad to share my story with Radio Readers Book Club.

Greta: Please tell us the about the life of your family that is still in Guatemala.  What kind of life do they live compared to the life that you are living today in Dodge City?

One Neighbor's Story - Looking Back

Sep 16, 2016
ESTHER HONIG / KCUR 89.3 - Harvest Public Media

Greta Clark serves at the Director of Multicultural Programs at Dodge City Community College.  In the course of her work, she hears the stories of many immigrants who’ve come to the U.S. in search of better lives, safety, and goals and dreams.  Here she talks with one student who’s made a career translating for the district court and for immigration. He states that he is independent and has a job helping people resolve their problems.

The Plains Belongs to Anyone Hardy Enough

Sep 14, 2016

My name is Megan Hope. I’m a native of Garden City, Kansas, now living in Denver, Colorado. I’ve spent most of the last two decades working among immigrant communities, a path that has everything to do with growing up on the High Plains.  

As I was settling into grade school in the early 1980s, southwest Kansas was being transformed by an influx of Latino immigrants and resettled Southeast Asian refugees, the primary workforce for two new meatpacking plants.

A Never Ending Exodus

Sep 12, 2016

In my own family History, in 1846 my great great grandfather Alma Helaman Hale was 10 years old when he lost his parents as they lived on the Missouri river near Council Bluffs, Iowa. Alma then joined the Mormon pioneers and with his three siblings traveled from their home to the Salt Lake Valley to settle with Brigham Young as he declared, “This is the Place!” One biography states “At this point we can only conclude that Alma became a man at the tender age of ten. There could be no idleness. The full effort of every person was needed just to keep alive.” In Sonia Nazario’s Enrique’s Journey she describes the immigrants as “facing north, toward a new land, a never-ending exodus.” (70) For many, this is a religious journey towards a land of new promise. Nazario describes some that bring “a tiny drawing of San Cristóbal, the patron saint of travelers, or of San Judas Tadeo, the patron saint of desperate situations” (70).

Tinta negra / Black Ink

Sep 9, 2016


Xánath Caraza reads two bilingual poems from her latest book Tinta negra / Black Ink.   In one she asks, "

What is a border? Created limits

cultures forced to turn their back

One Neighbor's Story

Sep 7, 2016

Hi, my name is Marcos Morales.I’m glad to share my story with the Radio Readers Book Club.  I have been here in southwest of Kansas since November of 2003.  I am from Guatemala from a little poor place. I came here because my dad brought me here in U.S.A.  He’s here with me.  I came here because I thought I had more opportunity than living in my country because when I was younger what I thought was to go to school to have a career, improve myself so that’s one of the reasons that I came.  And that’s what I am doing right now.

Imagining America

Sep 5, 2016

In Sonia Nazario’s description of what draws Lourdes to take the treacherous journey north from Honduras to the U.S., she writes: “On television, she saw New York City’s spectacular skyline, Las Vegas’s shimmering lights, Disneyland’s magic castle.” (4) 25 pages later Lourdes’ son Enrique misses his mother and is also strongly attracted to the U.S. Nazario similarly expresses that “Enrique sees New York City’s spectacular skyline, Las Vegas’s shimmering lights, Disneyland’s magic castle.” (28-9). Little do Lourdes and Enrique know that Latinos make up almost 30% of New York City’s population. There is almost three times the number of Puerto Ricans in New York City than in San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital. Additionally, there are about as many Dominicans in New York City as in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic and home to almost 1 million people. New York is a dramatically Hispanic city.

Guatemala to the High Plains - Unaccompanied

Sep 2, 2016

In the small, rural city of Liberal, Kansas, a neighborhood of old trailer homes sits just off the main street. The small trailer at the end of the block, with faded yellow paint and creaky front steps, is the place 17-year-old Diego now calls home.

Objects from the Borderlands

Aug 31, 2016
SUSAN HARGAGE PAGE, North Carolina /

In 2007 I began making yearly trips/pilgrimages to walk the border and photograph objects left behind by undocumented migrants crossing the U.S–Mexico border between Matamoros, Mexico, and Brownsville, Texas. My work takes an ever-evolving imagined space and concretizes it as a collection of specific objects, first as they are found and photographed in the landscape, then as they are re-photographed and archived, and, finally, as they are united in exhibitions.

Faith, Family and Endurance in the Face of Danger

Aug 29, 2016

In 2013 there were over 3 million Central American immigrants living in the U.S. Each year hundreds of immigrants die while attempting to cross the southern U.S. border. From 2014 to July, 31 2015 alone, 72,968 unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras were apprehended at the U.S. border with Mexico.  “Each year the Obama administration has seen more deportations than any preceding president”[1].

Their Stories Are Ours

Aug 24, 2016

If you like watching Andy Griffith reruns, you might enjoy living in a small town in the listening area of High Plains Public Radio. Those of us who call these little burgs home enjoy a quality of life that is generally slow-paced, friendly, and satisfying on many levels. Life wasn’t always so idyllic.

Library of Congress

The Great Plains is its own eco-niche with distinctive plants, mammals, birds, weather, and history that constantly evolve. Its human population is as dynamic as these other unique factors. Those of us whose families have lived here for generations understand the world Willa Cather describes in My Antonia. Our families lived her stories. When we read them, we wonder how we got where we are today.

Jonathan Baker

I’m Jonathan Baker, a writer in Canyon, Texas, and I’ve been asked to talk about Willa Cather’s My Antonia.

I have an addiction. I take photos constantly with my phone. Sometimes in West Texas, during a particularly epic sunset, I’ll instinctively start driving west, away from town, out where there are no buildings. Where the good views are.

Later, when I go back and look at my images, I often find I have no nostalgia for the day I snapped the photo of a particular sky. Because I was looking at my phone the whole time.

Who Cares about What Happens in Nebraska? We Do.

Aug 17, 2016
Kansas Memory, Kansas Historical Society

To write about life on the plains might not seem like much of a risk today, but, at the turn of the last century, Willa Cather knew what she was up against when she made immigrant farmers – people she knew as a child growing up in Nebraska—her central characters.

Kansas Memory, Kansas Historical Society

HPPR listeners thinking about the theme of this year’s book club--Borders and Becoming--need to keep in mind that borders change to meet the needs of those who live within them. Over the last two and a half centuries, the parameters of the United States changed repeatedly. A modern day description of the contiguous states would include Folksinger Woody Guthrie’s first stanza of “This Land Is Your Land.”

Lyrical Postcards in Willa Cather’s My Antonia

Aug 12, 2016

The essence of poetry is song, or lyrical feeling. How well Willa Cather understood the lyrical beauty of the Great Plains. She delights readers of My Antonia with poetic passages, like Jim Burden’s first look at Nebraska: “There was nothing but land: not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made.”

We Are All Immigrants

Aug 10, 2016
Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation

When I learned that our Radio Readers Fall Read would be themed “Stories: Borders and Becoming,” I began to think about what that might mean, exactly. We all have family stories of our beginnings and becoming in this country.  Whether we’re descendants of German  immigrants, Irish immigrants, Mexican immigrants, Asian immigrants, we all “just came here” at one time or another.  We have that story of becoming in common.

Why Read My Antonia?

Aug 8, 2016

HPPR listeners thinking about the theme of this year’s book club--Borders and Becoming--need to keep in mind that borders change to meet the needs of those who live within them. Over the last two and a half centuries, the parameters of the United States changed repeatedly. A modern day description of the contiguous states would include Folksinger Woody Guthrie’s first stanza of “This Land Is Your Land.”

Crossing Borders

Aug 5, 2016
Paul Phillips

Few of us have experienced the immigration process, but for we who have traveled, the border crossing experience is traumatic, going from the comfortable to the unknown. 

Radio Readers 2016 Fall Read

Aug 5, 2016

Join us for the HPPR Radio Readers Fall Read Stories: Borders and Becoming.  The books include Willa Cather’s My Antonia, Sonya Nazario’s Enrique’s Journey, and Dave Egger’s What is the What.  To let us know what you’re thinking about our diverse ethnic culture here on the High Plains, join the discussion on the HPPR Radio Readers  Facebook page or listen to the BookByte Features aired Monday, Wednesday and Friday  during Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Ancient Seas to Borders

Aug 3, 2016
J.W. Buell (1889)

High Plains Public Radio will soon begin its Fall Radio Readers Book Club.  The theme this time is Borders and Becoming.  Here’s a brief appreciation of the unique land mass found in books which embrace our “wide-openness.”

Book Selections - Stories: Borders & Becoming

Aug 1, 2016

Plenty of memes and essays tell Facebookers, tweeters, and readers to live in the moment. In general, it’s good advice for a satisfying and contented life. However, learning about and understanding the stories of a certain place and people who lived and are living in that geographic locale add depth to our existence.

Deb Oyler

The Radio Readers Book Club Spring Read concluded with a live two hour event on Sunday, May 1, 2016.  The panel discussed Kent Haruf's Plainsong, S.C. Gwynne's Empire of the Summer Moon, and Gail Caldwell's A Strong West Wind.  

The panel was:  Jane Holwerda from Dodge City, Kansas; Alex Hunt, Jonathan Baker, and Michael Grauer from Canyon, Texas; former Kansas Poet Laureate Denise Low, and Lynne Hewes from Cimarron, Kansas.  

Philipp Meyer: Getting to know the man

May 2, 2016

Philipp Meyer recently spoke at West TExas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.  Cindee Talley had the opportunity to talk with him on the phone, and get to know the man a little bit better.