AC’s Next Common Reader to be ‘Blue Hole Back Home’

March 24, 2014

A novel about consequences of racial prejudice in post-civil rights Appalachia has been selected to serve as the next Common Reader for Amarillo College.

Blue Hole Back Home by Joy Jordan-Lake will be distributed this summer to students who will be attending AC as freshmen next fall. Jordan-Lake, who in 2009 won a Christy Award for the book—best first novel—has agreed to speak at the College sometime next fall.

The introduction of Jordan-Lake’s novel at AC will help to both launch and underscore the College’s Institutional Theme for 2014-2015—“Moral Courage.”

In 1979, when the first “family of color” moves into their mountain village, some local teenagers invite newcomer Sanna to visit their favorite swimming hole. They swiftly learn that this extension of friendship is not to everyone’s liking; all are not ready for an integrated town, much less an integrated swimming hole.

Blue Hole Back Home is a story of hate, tragedy, hope and survival, all born of one Sri Lankan girl’s acceptance of a ride one hot summer day to the local swimming hole.

“We’re so excited to host this incredible author and see where Blue Hole Back Home and “Moral Courage” take our students during the next year,” said Courtney Milleson, chair of the Common Reader Team.

Amarillo College first incorporated an Institutional Theme into its agenda in 2011 and has had one each year since.

“We use the theme to launch activities, dialog, class projects and special events born of the collective creativity and imagination of our students, faculty and staff,” April Sessler, associate vice president of student affairs, said. “Our theme gives us a unifying, central subject.”

Previous selections in AC’s Common Reader series, and the authors who have visited the College, are as follows:

2013-2014 Wine to Water by Doc Hendley

2012-2013 The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

2011-2012 Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

2010-2011 Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley

2009-2010 Miracle in the Andes by Nando Parado

2008-2009 All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg