FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2014
Arizona DREAMers Subject of book Spare Parts
Spare Parts Book Signing in Arizona
What: Spare Parts Book Signing
When: Wednesday January 28, 2015
Time: 7:00PM – 8:30PM
Location: Changing Hands Bookstore 300 W Camelback Rd Phoenix AZ 85013
Who: Author Joshua Davis, original team members Luis Aranda, Cristian Arcega, and Lorenzo Santillan, as well as their teachers Fredi Lajvardi and Allan Cameron
PHOENIX AZ – Spare Parts is the story of Oscar, Cristian, Lorenzo, and Luis, four undocumented Mexican-American kids from West Phoenix who, ten years ago, represented their underfunded high school in a national, NASA- sponsored underwater robotics competition in California. Carl Hayden High School had just recently launched a robotics club under the initiative of two inspiring teachers and was going up against not only other high schools, but also colleges from around the country, including a team from MIT working with an ExxonMobil sponsorship. Amazingly, these four teens from the desert, who risked the threat of deportation just by crossing state lines, won first place in the competition.
Joshua Davis—a contributing editor at Wired magazine—caught wind of this and published a story about it in Wired’s April 2005 issue. It was a classic underdog tale about smart, resourceful kids who overcame some serious odds. But the story didn’t end there: With the help of Wired readers, a scholarship fund was set up for the students. They were celebrated on ABC’s Nightline, and their success helped to establish a strong tradition of competitive robotics in their community. Upon graduating from Arizona State, Oscar, their de facto leader, went back to Mexico to apply for legal residency in the United States, only to be barred from reentry into the country where he had lived most of his life. Eventually, thanks to the advocacy of Dick Durbin and others,
Oscar gained permanent residency and promptly joined the U.S. military to serve in Afghanistan.
This past summer, a documentary on the topic—called Underwater Dreams—saw release, and on January 16, 2015, a major motion picture based on Davis’s reporting was released countrywide by Lionsgate, with George Lopez and Marisa Tomei in leading roles.
All of which brings us back to Davis’s book: In Spare Parts, he tells both the made-for-Hollywood story of the four teens’s dramatic 2004 achievement and the much larger, more complicated story of U.S. immigration policy. He shows us the challenges these four faced as undocumented students brought to the States as children, and brings their stories up to the present day. And he deftly explores the question of what it actually means (or should mean) to be an American.
“I see all children as the key to the future, documented or not. It is important to me that they all get a shot at a great education for the United States to continue to be a world leader! We need every potential “Einstein” out there!”
– Fredi Lajvardi, Falcon Robotics Team Mentor
“Dream big and never give up, it was never about building robots it was about building your path and going for it, being a Falcon Robotics member showed me that despite being undocumented I can continue my education and open my own business. I am truly honored that our story is being told”
-Lorenzo Santillan, Falcon Robotics Team Alumni
Spare Parts, the feature film based on Davis’s original Wired article, stars
George Lopez, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Marisa Tomei, and was released nationwide by Lionsgate on January 16, 2015.
FSG Originals published a movie tie-in paperback on December 2, 2014
(ISBN: 978-0-374-53498-1; $14.00) and will publish a Spanish-language paperback edition on March 17, 2015 (ISBN: 978-0-374-28450-3; $14.00).
Spare Parts, by Joshua Davis, was published in hardcover by FSG Originals on December 2, 2014
From left to right Oscar Vazquez, Cristian Arcega, Lorenzo Santillan and Luis Aranda.