Making Impressions


Berry freshmen and new transfer students were able to experience firsthand meeting the author whose words were an integral part of their introduction to Berry. 

Author Luis Alberto Urrea visited Berry Thursday to speak about his book, “Into the Beautiful North,” which was the summer reading assignment for all incoming students. Every year, new students are assigned a summer reading book that encompasses many of the varying themes they will encounter as they begin a new phase of their lives at Berry.

“Reading the book was a great starting topic to talk to everyone. It was a good jumping point,” said freshman Lydia Ellington. 

After a series of dark novels, Urrea wrote this novel as a lighthearted take on serious topics like illegal immigration and poverty.  Underplayed with social and political commentary, Urrea’s story raises questions, challenges norms and inspires Berry students to do the same. 

His novel’s immense cultural diversity made students think outside the Berry bubble. His powerful storytelling helped students realize the similarities between Berry and his fictitious community. 

Urrea delivered a lecture full of humorous anecdotes and powerful personal stories. He kept the audience captivated with his humor in his stories of parrots, his Irish background, and family mishaps. 

After his lecture, he urged students to stand up and ask heated questions. He told the audience he loved debates and believed Berry’s students were taught to start discussions and raise hard questions. 

Urrea is a critically acclaimed author of 13 books, a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist and a member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame. His books have won several notable literary awards and have been on best-selling lists nationwide.

Story by Student Public Relations Assistant Shannon Cordon and photos by Sara Leimbach.