Meet Luis Alberto Urrea at Dominican University

Wednesday, Sept. 28, 7 pm, Dominican University Performing Arts Center, Martin Recital Hall, 7900 W. Division St., River Forest. Learn how this acclaimed author uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore themes of love, loss, and triumph. Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and an American mother, Urrea is most recognized as a border writer, yet has said, “I am more interested in bridges, not borders.” More about the author >

Book discussions of Into the Beautiful North

Engage in a lively discussion with neighbors about Into the Beautiful North, the story of 19-year-old Nayeli, who finds herself on a quest to bring back her father and other men to repopulate her small Mexican village after watching the American movie The Magnificent Seven. More about the book >

Learn more with our book discussion kit. Use it to get your own book group talking, or in preparation for one of our library-led discussions:

Panel discussions

  • True-Life Stories From Young Adult Immigrants. Sunday, Sept. 25, 2 pm. River Forest Public Library. Join us for a discussion on the immigration and deportation of women and children. Moderated by Dr. Lisa Petrov, PhD, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Director of Latin and Latino American Studies at Dominican University. 
  • Contemporary Issues in Immigration, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2:30 pm. Oak Park Public Library, Main Library. Explore contemporary, local issues of immigration with experienced immigration attorneys Robert Ahlgren, Mony Ruiz-Velasco, and Carlina Tapia-Ruano. This event is a collaboration with the League of Women's Voters of Oak Park and River Forest
  • Meet New Immigrants. Saturday, Oct. 22, 11:30 am–12:30 pm. Maywood Public Library. Explore what it’s like to leave your home and come to the United States. Meet immigrants who will share their stories of their homeland, the journey, and what they have found here in the Chicago area. Everyone is invited to come and hear their stories. If you have stories of your own immigrant experience to share, please join us.


  • KICKOFF EVENT: Sones de México Ensemble, Friday, Sept. 16, 7 pm. Dominican University Performing Arts Center, Lund Auditorium. Celebrate Mexican Independence Day with us. Chicago's premier folk music ensemble will take you on a musical journey of unique and rich regional styles of Mexican music and instruments. Presented in the Lund Auditorium.
  • Jarochicanos, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2 pm. Berwyn Public Library. Explore the Jarocho music of Veracruz, Mexico, which has a mixture of Spanish and African indigenous influences. Space is limited, register now: 708.795.8000 ext. 6300.
  • Sueños Latin Jazz, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 7 pm. Oak Park Public Library, Main Library. Composed of some of Chicago’s finest jazz and Latin musicians and led by bassist/composer Steven Hashimoto, the group has been active in Chicago’s vital jazz scene for 10 years and combines jazz improvisation with Latin and Caribbean rhythms.

Wednesday afternoon film series

Host Doug Deuchler leads audiences through thoughtful discussion following each screening. Wednesdays, 1:30–4:30 pm, Oak Park Public Library, Main Library.
  • Sept. 14: The Magnificent SevenThe film that inspires Into the Beautiful North’s main character to head to the United States.
  • Sept. 21: Brooklyn. A heartwarming story about a young, homesick Irish immigrant in the 1950s.
  • Sept. 28: The Namesake. A story about the son of Indian immigrants who wants to break free from his family’s traditions.
  • Oct. 5: El Norte. The story of a teenage indigenous Mayan brother and sister who flee war-torn Guatemala and attempt to slip into California without documentation.
  • Oct. 12: Avalon. A Polish Jewish family build a better future for themselves in Baltimore in the late 1940s and 1950s.
  • Oct. 19: In America. An undocumented Irish family struggles to start a new life in New York City.

More film screenings and discussions

  • The Magnificent Seven pre-screening and discusssion, Thursday, Sept. 22, 7 pm. Classic Cinemas Lake TheatreMore >
  • Foreign Film Forum: Seven Samurai, Part 1: Saturday, Sept. 10; Part 2: Saturday, Oct. 8, 1 pm. River Forest Public Library. In this film tied to The Magnificent Seven, a poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.
  • Book discussion and film screening, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2 pm. River Forest Public Library. Join us to talk about Into the Beautiful North and watch The Magnificent Seven.

Fun for all ages

  • Family Lotería Game Day. Saturdays, Sept. 24 and Oct. 15, 2 pm. Berwyn Public Library. Lotería, or Mexican bingo, is an old picture-based game played by every age. This game will be presented bilingually. No Spanish skills needed! Register now: 708.795.8000, ext. 3088.
  • Read/Create Book Group. Monday, Sept. 26, 7 pm. Forest Park Public Library. Join us for a twist on the traditional book group. Discuss and dabble in simple art project.
  • Community Ofrenda. Oct. 11–Nov. 2, during open hours. Berwyn Public Library. Remember your loved ones and visit the ofrenda (altar) during open hours at the Berwyn Public Library.
  • Student Art Exhibit. Oct. 17–Nov. 6, during open hours. Berwyn Public Library. View artwork by Berwyn middle school students. The artwork featured will be in celebration of el Día de los Muertos.
  • Storytellers Amy Lowe & Megan Wells: Ellis Island Program. Oct. 20, 2-3 pm, Oak Park Public Library, Main Library. Find common hopes and dreams between people then and now. Seasoned storytellers Megan Wells and Amy Lowe share a "first-person musical narrative about coming to America." This immigrant story is woven with engaging memorable songs about the journey by boat, through storm, Lady Liberty, doctors at the dock, the anxious processing at Ellis Island, detention in the hospital and reunited families. 
  • Día De Los Muertos Party. Tuesday, Nov. 1, 7 pm. Berwyn Public Library. Join us for a celebration with treats and a live dance performance. Register now: 708.795.8000 ext. 3088.

Especially for kids

  • Bilingual Storytimes for Children, Wednesdays, Sept. 21 and Oct. 19, 11 am. Magic Tree Book Store. Sheila Trainor will share stories aligned with themes in Into the Beautiful North.
  • Choose Your Own Adventure: Incredible Journey, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 4 pm. Forest Park Public Library. What if you and your family had to start over in a completely new place? What decisions would you have to make? What might your challenges be? We’ll work together to meet the challenge in teams and will share books about kids who faced their own incredible journeys. Ages 7–12. 
  • Craft and Storytime: Otomi Mural and Wild Paranda, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 11 am. Oak Park Public Library, Main Library. Children ages 2-6 and their caregivers are invited to help us create a giant, colorful, paper-cut mural of plants and animals in the style of the Otomi, an indigenous culture of Mexico. We will enjoy an animal-themed paranda (party) with masks, music, dancing, and bilingual stories.

Author event

  • Today’s Inspired Latina: Life Stories of Success in the Face of Adversity. Wednesday, Oct. 5, 7 pm. Oak Park Public Library, Main Library Veterans Room. Meet Gabriela Rodil, an Oak Park author, and hear about her personal experiences. Gabriela has written a chapter in Today’s Inspired Latina: Life Stories of Success in the Face of Adversity. A portion of the book proceeds goes to The Fig Factor Foundation, a nonprofit organization empowering young Latinas between the ages of 15 and 25 years old. Books will be for sale and signing.

This program is sponsored in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.