Uptown Reads

Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria is proud announce that the 2020 Uptown Reads book is Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America by Maria Hinojosa.
Uptown Reads is a neighborhood-wide program that celebrates great literature and the community-wide reflection that can come of a shared reading experience. Modeled after the National Endowment of the Arts’ Big Read program, Uptown Reads aims to engage as many Uptown neighbors as possible by helping create events in different spaces—reading circles, talks, potlucks, storytelling, walking tours—with event support from Word Up. 
 In Once I Was You, Maria shares her intimate experience growing up Mexican American on the South Side of Chicago. She offers a personal and illuminating account of how the rhetoric around immigration has not only long informed American attitudes toward outsiders, but also sanctioned willful negligence and profiteering at the expense of our country’s most vulnerable populations—charging us with the broken system we have today. An urgent call to fellow Americans to open their eyes to the immigration crisis and understand that it affects us all, this honest and heartrending memoir paints a vivid portrait of how we got here and what it means to be a survivor, a feminist, a citizen, and a journalist who owns her voice while striving for the truth.
Also available in Spanish as Una vez fui tú.
Maria Hinojosa’s nearly thirty-year career as a journalist includes reporting for PBS, CBS, WGBH, WNBC, CNN, NPR, and anchoring and executive producing the Peabody Award–winning show Latino USA, distributed by NPR. She is a frequent guest on MSNBC, and has won several awards, including four Emmys, the Studs Terkel Community Media Award, two Robert F. Kennedy Awards, and the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Overseas Press Club. In 2010, she founded Futuro Media, an independent nonprofit organization with the mission of producing multimedia content from a POC perspective. Through the breadth of her work and as the founding coanchor of the political podcast In the Thick, Hinojosa has informed millions about the changing cultural and political landscape in America and abroad. She lives with her family in Harlem in New York City. Maria Hinojosa has reported on stories and communities in America that often go ignored by the mainstream media—from tales of hope in the South Bronx to the unseen victims of the War on Terror and the first detention camps in the US. Bestselling author Julia Álvarez has called her “one of the most important, respected, and beloved cultural leaders in the Latinx community.”

Maria Hinojosa - Photograph by Kevin Abosch
Photograph by Kevin Abosch



Whether you are an established book club or planning a one-off event, we can help! Register your event by emailing uptownreads@wordupbooks.com with your name, event title, date, time, venue, address, and description, and you can take advantage of discounts, swag, promo help, and other enhancements for your event. Some of the things we can supply are listed below. If you have any additional suggestions, please feel free to get in touch with us!


  • Book club/reading circle: A classic and easy way to organize an event would be to hold a book club meeting (or reading circle) by setting up a time when a group of people you contact—whether they are friends, coworkers, or other associates—can meet to discuss Uptown Reads' selection. You can set multiple meeting dates and assign specific parts to be read before each meeting, or you can just set one meeting when everyone can discuss the entire book. The organizer or another moderator may prepare questions for the group to get the conversation started. You may even choose to work in time to read excerpts together during the book club meeting. If people wishing to participate in the book club have not yet read the whole book by the time of the meeting, that is okay! They can still join and participate in the discussion, or they can simply listen and be inspired to read further. 
  • An event with your own stories, in words and images
  • A ZOOM party with the songs from the event! 

BOOK CLUB FACILITATORS: Your group may already have someone who can moderate or facilitate a book club meeting or reading circle. However, if you would like to be paired with a neighbor who can facilitate a reading circle for your group, please get in touch at uptownreads@wordupbooks.com!

DISCOUNTS: For book clubs, reading circles, and other events registered on our Uptown Reads webpage, we can provide: 

  • A promo code on our website, exclusively for members of your book club members, to buy the Uptown Reads' selection at www.wordupbooks.com at a discount.
  • Register your book club on the Uptown Reads website and your book club members can get discounts for in-store purchases.
  • Deeper discounts for bulk orders of 10 copies or more, billed through the event organizer.

Please email uptownreads@wordupbooks.com for more information. 


Friday, December 4, 2020
LIBeración & Uptown Reads con Maria Hinojosa
7pm: Author Reading and Q&A (via ZOOM)
8pm: Spanish-language book club (via ZOOM)
LIBeración and Uptown Reads 2020 launch event to celebrate Maria Hinojosa's memoir Once I Was You.  LIBeración's mission is to create a space dedicated to the Spanish-speaking community of New York, to enjoy, and discuss, literature. With the help of Word Up Community Bookstore,  LIBeración will create events to discuss a different book every 6 weeks. The books will be available in Spanish and English, but the discussions will be in Spanish. LIBeración is a group organized by Nani (@readingwithnani).



Dominicana by Angie Cruz


Uptown Reads 2019: Dominicana by Angie Cruz



Leyendo El Alto 2019: Dominicana por Angie Cruz





Una vez fui tú (Once I Was You Spanish Edition): Memorias (Atria Espanol) By Maria Hinojosa Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982135201
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria/Primero Sueno Press - September 15th, 2020

Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America By Maria Hinojosa Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781982128654
Published: Atria Books - September 15th, 2020