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2010-2011 Common Read: The Death of Josseline


The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona-Mexico Borderlands by Margaret Regan (Beacon Press, 2010) presents a series of intimate stories from immigrants, activists, human rights workers, and border patrol people. Through their stories, the book explores the ethical, moral, and spiritual challenges presented by the complex immigration issues on the border, evoking our human response, rather than a political or policy debate. Regan calls us to the religious act of bearing witness to brutality and despair along with extraordinary courage and commitment.


Reading is a solitary act, but the stories Regan tells are not easily held alone. Discussion groups provide a place for conversation and discernment as to how we will respond and act. Talking together enhances each reader’s encounter with the book and can give diverse people a shared experience on which to build meaningful conversation and action.

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) offers a Discussion Guide for The Death of Josseline (PDF document). Adapt the guide to facilitate conversation among adults and/or youth in one meeting, or as a series. For example, you might provide a single-session Sunday morning forum, or use the guide with a book group, covenant group, or social justice program. The guide includes a map of the Arizona-Sonora borderlands (PDF) to project or copy for all members' reference during discussion.

Consider organizing cluster or congregational conversations in an online format as well as for in-person groups. Technology can invite a large-number or geographically dispersed group to engage together.


  • Publicize the Common Read. Use your congregation's newsletter, website, and other announcement opportunities; download and post a flyer for the Common Read of The Death of Josseline (PDF).
  • Help participants acquire the book. The hardcover edition is available in public libraries and from the UUA Bookstore. Beacon Press has accelerated publication of a less costly, paperback edition; pre-order now from the UUA Bookstore for October, 2010 delivery.
  • Make plans to gather for discussion in person, online, or both.
  • Download the discussion guide and tailor it to suit the discussion format(s) you have chosen.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Wednesday, October 3, 2012.

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