Livermore Reads Together

Livermore Reads Together

Livermore together  

Livermore Reads Together 2019 is a community reading program featuring Joshua Davis’s New York Times bestselling nonfiction book Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream. The community of Livermore is invited to read Spare Parts and join their neighbors by participating in events related to the book, such as a Student Robotics Fair, poetry reading by Latinx writer MK Chavez, art show and reception featuring Bay Area artist Daniel Camacho, Mexican folk music concert by Los Panaderos, and more. Book copies are available to check out from the Livermore Public Library.

About Spare Parts: In 2004, four Latino teenagers arrived at the Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Born in Mexico but raised in Phoenix, Arizona, the teens attended an underfunded public high school. No one had ever suggested to Oscar Vazquez, Cristian Arcega, Luis Aranda, or Lorenzo Santillan that they might amount to much, but two inspiring science teachers (Fredi Lajvardi and Allan Cameron) convinced these impoverished, undocumented kids from the desert who had never even seen the ocean that they should try to build an underwater robot.

And build a robot they did. Their robot wasn't pretty, especially compared to the rest of the competition. They were going up against some of the best collegiate engineers in the country, including a team from MIT backed by a $10,000 grant from ExxonMobil. The Phoenix teenagers had scraped together less than $1,000 and built their robot out of scavenged parts. This was never a level competition—and yet, against all odds, they won. But this is just the beginning for these four, whose story—which became a key inspiration to the DREAMers movement—will go on to include first-generation college graduations, deportation, bean-picking in Mexico, and military service in Afghanistan.

Joshua Davis's Spare Parts is a story about overcoming insurmountable odds and the four young men who proved they were among the most patriotic and talented Americans in this country—even as the country tried to kick them out.  

Unless otherwise noted, events are at Civic Center Library, located at 1188 South Livermore Avenue, and are free to the public.