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About the Book

2019-2020 COMMON READING

Book cover: American Like Me

American Like Me

Reflections on Life Between Cultures

edited by America Ferrera

New York: Gallery Books, 2018
Paperback edition
ISBN: 9781501180934
336 pages

From award-winning actress America Ferrera comes a vibrant and varied collection of first-person accounts from prominent figures about the experience of growing up between cultures.

Publisher's Synopsis

America Ferrera has always felt wholly American, and yet, her identity is inextricably linked to her parents’ homeland and Honduran culture. Speaking Spanish at home, having Saturday-morning-salsa-dance-parties in the kitchen, and eating tamales alongside apple pie at Christmas never seemed at odds with her American identity.

Still, she yearned to see that identity reflected in the larger American narrative.

Now, in American Like Me, America invites 31 of her friends, peers, and heroes to share their stories about life between cultures. We know them as actors, comedians, athletes, politicians, artists, and writers. However, they are also immigrants, children or grandchildren of immigrants, indigenous people, or people who otherwise grew up with deep and personal connections to more than one culture. Each of them struggled to establish a sense of self, find belonging, and feel seen. And they call themselves American enthusiastically, reluctantly, or not at all.

Ranging from the heartfelt to the hilarious, their stories shine a light on a quintessentially American experience and will appeal to anyone with a complicated relationship to family, culture, and growing up.

Personal Stories

Listed in the order they appear in the book:

  • Reshma Saujani, CEO of Girls Who Code
  • Al Madrigal, comedian/actor, Night School
  • Jenny Zhang, poet/writer, Sour Heart
  • Bambadjan Bamba, actor, Black Panther
  • Padma Lakshmi, host of Top Chef
  • Randall Park, actor, Fresh Off the Boat
  • Roxane Gay, author, Bad Feminist
  • Carmen Perez, exective director,
    The Gathering for Justice
  • Issa Rae, actress, writer, and producer,
    Insecure and Awkward Black Girl
  • Diane Guerrero, activist and actress,
    Orange Is the New Black
  • Joy Cho, founder of Oh Joy!
  • Liza Koshy, actress and YouTuber
  • Kumail Nanjiani, actor, The Big Sick
  • Michelle Kwan, Olympic figure skater
  • Geena Rocero, transgender model/host
  • Frank Waln, hip-hop artist
  • Auli’i Cravalho, singer/actress, Moana
  • Jeremy Lin, NBA basketball player
  • America Ferrera, actress, Ugly Betty,
    Real Women Have Curves,
    and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
  • Ravi V. Patel, actor, American Housewife
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda, actor, singer, and
    creator of Hamilton and In the Heights
  • Tanaya Winder, poet, writer, and artist
  • Wilmer Valderrama, actor,
    That '70s Show and Handy Manny
  • Anna Akana, actress and YouTuber
  • Laurie Hernandez, Olympic gymnast
  • Kal Penn, actor and White House aide
  • Anjelah Johnson-Reyes, comedian
  • Martin Sensmeier, actor, Westworld
  • Carmen Carrera, model, TV personality,
    and transgender rights activist
  • Uzo Aduba, actress,
    Orange Is the New Black
  • Linda Sarsour, civil rights activist
  • Joaquin Castro, U.S. Congressman