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'The House On Mango Street' Is Wichita's Big Read Selection For 2022

"The House on Mango Street" by Sandra Cisneros is Wichita's Big Read book for 2022.

A classic Hispanic-American novel is the selection for next year’s Wichita Big Read.

Wichita Public Library officials announced Thursday that“The House on Mango Street,” by Sandra Cisneros, was chosen as the city’s 14th Big Read selection because its themes of race, diversity, identity and inclusion are relevant to Wichita readers.

“It’s important to remember that while we are all Americans, we come from different places, we live different lives. Some of us lived in very marginalized groups,” said library spokesman Sean Jones.

“At the end of the day, we are all humans just trying to live a life and trying to make it in this world, and we think that that’s a story worth sharing.”

The library received a $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest to help finance next year’s Big Read. The community-wide program brings together schools, libraries, cultural organizations, businesses and book clubs to celebrate literacy and learning through reading a common book.

The 2022 event will run from Feb. 12 to March 27.

“The House on Mango Street,” published in 1984, tells the story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago. Structured as a series of vignettes, it’s based in part on the author’s life and experiences.

For the first time, the library plans to offer the Big Read book and some events in both English and Spanish.

As part of the event,mama.film will present a weekend-long film festival discussing women’s roles in society. Author Sarah Smarsh will host an author talk focused on her book, “Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth.” And Kansas Poet Laureate Huascar Medina will present a reading of “Un Mango Grows in Kansas,” with a discussion on identity and location.

“We’re still in the early planning stages, but I think it’s honestly going to be one of our best years ever,” Jones said.

For information about Wichita’s Big Read, including events scheduled in conjunction with the book, visit www.bigreadwichita.org.


Next year’s Big Read marks 14 years for Wichita’s common-read program. Here’s a look back at previous selections:

2020/21: “Circe” by Madeline Miller

2019: “Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren

2018: “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel

2017: “The Latehomecomer” by Kao Kalia Yang

2016: “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury

2015: “Into the Beautiful North” by Luis Alberto Urrea

2014: “The Maltese Falcon” by Dashiell Hammett

2013: “True Grit” by Charles Portis

2012: “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

2011: “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien

2010: “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston

2009: “Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe” by Edgar Allan Poe

2008: “My Antonia” by Willa Cather

Suzanne Perez is a longtime journalist covering education and general news for KMUW and the Kansas News Service. Suzanne reviews new books for KMUW and is the co-host with Beth Golay of the Books & Whatnot podcast. Follow her on Twitter @SuzPerezICT.