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Class of 2019 First-Year Read


The selection for the fall 2015 First-Year Read program is Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream by Joshua Davis. After downloading the book onto their Hood iPads to read over the summer, incoming first-year students meet in small groups during fall orientation to discuss the themes, issues and conflicts that are raised by Spare Parts. Specially trained Hood faculty, staff and students co-facilitate these discussions. Students then are required to write about the book in their first-year seminars as their first assignment.

All Hood students are invited to attend First-Year Read special activities scheduled during the fall semester and to weigh in with their opinions about the book on Facebook. The program culminates with Joshua Davis’ visit to our campus Oct. 21, when first-year students will have a special opportunity to meet with the author during the day. Later that evening at 6 p.m., Davis will give a public lecture followed by a book signing in Hodson Auditorium, Rosenstock Hall. We encourage parents to attend these evening events!

About the Book

Spare Parts recounts the surprising saga of four undocumented Latino teenagers living in an impoverished neighborhood in Phoenix. With little more than scavenged parts, they built the winning entry of a 2004 national underwater robotics contest sponsored by NASA and the US Navy. Their competition was stiff—they were the only high school team who entered the top division of the contest. The young students faced tough opposition from elite college teams, including a group from MIT supported by a $10,000 grant from Exxon Mobil. Paradoxically, even with this inspiring win in a government-sponsored contest, Davis documents the almost impossible struggle for these “best and brightest” to move beyond their illegal status for a place in the American Dream.

Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream was named one of the best new books of 2014 by both Amazon and the BBC. The film Spare Parts starring George Lopez, Carlos Peña, Marisa Tomei and Jamie Lee Curtis was released by Lionsgate in January 2015.

How to download onto the iPad