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The 2014 Community Read series will feature The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang. It follows the journey of thousands of Hmong families as they escaped from Laos, stayed in refugee camps in Thailand and eventually arrived in America. (Contributed)

Community Read presents ‘The Latehomecomer’

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The 2014 Community Read, One Community, One Book, will offer a series of events on the Hmong experience of immigration from Laos to America, featuring The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang. The events are free and open to the public.

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The Latehomecomer is an account of the thousands of Hmong families who made the journey from the war-torn jungles of Laos to the overcrowded refugee camps of Thailand and onward to America.

Lacking a written language of their own, the Hmong people have primarily recorded their experiences through documentation written by others. Yang was driven to tell her family’s story after her grandmother’s death.

Copies of The Latehomecomer are available at the Douglas County Library.

Guest speaker Ka Vang will speak at the event on Wednesday, February 19 at 7 p.m. at the Douglas County Library meeting room in Alexandria.

Vang was born in Laos at the end of the Vietnam War. She will give a first-hand account of the Hmong escape from Laos and immigration to America. She is the author of a Hmong children’s book, Shoua and the Northern Lights Dragon.

The Community Read strives to bring the community together to read, discuss and celebrate books and writers. It is a collaboration of Douglas County Library, Friends of the Library, Cherry Street Books and Alexandria Community Education, all in Alexandria.

This project is funded in part with money from Minnesota’s Art and Cultural Heritage Fund.

2014 Community Read, One Community, One Book schedule of events:

Monday, February 10 at 2 p.m., Grand Arbor Theater, Alexandria – Watch a free showing of the movie Gran Torino, a 2008 American drama produced by and starring Clint Eastwood.

Thursday, February 13 at 6 p.m., Grand Arbor Theater, Alexandria – Watch a free showing of the movie Gran Torino, a 2008 American drama produced by and starring Clint Eastwood.

Saturday, February 15 at 11 a.m., Douglas County Library meeting room – Celebrate the immigrant story of the Hmong people at a children’s event, featuring storytelling and crafts.

Tuesday, February 18 at 7 p.m., Broadway Bistro, Alexandria – Join Chef Matthew Jensen for a Hmong cooking demonstration, sample authentic Hmong foods and get tips on spices and flavors. Pre-register at the Douglas County Library.

Wednesday, February 19 at 7 p.m., Douglas County Library meeting room – Listen to stories of one person’s journey crossing the river, living in refugee camps and adjusting to life in America, by Minnesota author Ka Vang, in partnership with the Inclusion Network.

Monday, February 24 at 6:30 p.m., Douglas County Library meeting room – Join a book discussion of The Latehomecomer led by Friends of the Library Book Club.

Thursday, February 27 at 6 p.m., Douglas County Library meeting room – Join a showing and discussion of the documentary Split Horn: The Life of a Hmong Shaman in America.

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