September 26th, 2007 10:25 EST
Judyth Piazza chats with Tom Miller, Author of How I Learned English
55 Accomplished Latinos Recall Lessons in Language and Life
WASHINGTON, DC -With advocates for immgrant rights on one side and those tired of hearing "press one for English" on the other, immgration reform and debates continue to swarm headlines. A new book from National Geographic, however, tells the untold stories of those who worked tirelessly to speak English.
HOW I LEARNED ENGLISH: 55 Accomplished Latinos Recall Lessons in Language and Life comes just in time for National Hispanic Heritage Month. The 55 contributors - exceptional authors, poets, playwrights, academics, entertainers, business leaders, scientists, athletes and politicians - reveal in fascinating, often touching, details the intimate processes each went through to learn the beautiful yet vexing English language.
HOW I LEARNED ENGLISH goes to the heart of the national debate on language and immigration. This is a book of high linguistic adventure and it`s bound to lead to reflection on the lives of people in our own time who slip across our borders, " writes acclaimed author Frank McCourt in the book`s afterword. Politics aside, you can only admire the millions who come here and are still coming, who climb the highest mountain of all - the English language. "
HOW I LEARNED ENGLISH includes recounts from:
· Congressman José Serrano describes learning English as a youth from Frank Sinatra records.
· Authors Oscar Hijuelos and Ariel Dorfman picked up the language as sick children in American hospital beds.
· Writer Alvaro Vargas Llosa learned the language as a teenager at a British boarding school.
The stories are funny, inspiring, sometimes sad. They tell of struggling to fit in, trying desperately to succeed and of assimilating in a new society. Como Aprend" Inglés, " a Spanish-language edition of the book, will be available Sept. 8.
Editor Tom Miller has been bringing us extraordinary stories of ordinary people for more than 30 years. His highly acclaimed travel books include The Panama Hat Trail, " about South America; On the Border, " an account of his adventures on the U.S.-Mexico frontier; Trading with the Enemy, " which takes readers on his journeys through Cuba; and Jack Ruby`s Kitchen Sink, " about the American Southwest, which won the Lowell Thomas Award for Best Travel Book of 2000. Miller also has written for Smithsonian, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Life and many other publications. He lives in Tucson, Ariz.
For More Information: http://www.tommillerbooks.com/