WATSONVILLE — In his first book, Joaquin Barreto is taking readers on a personal journey of immigration and overcoming cultural shock in a new country.
The Watsonville resident will be signing copies of “El Otro Lado (The Other Side)” Saturday at Kelly’s Books, 1838 Main St. in Watsonville, from 2-4 p.m.
Born and raised in the City of Guadalajara, Mexico, Barreto migrated to Santa Cruz when he was 18 years old.
He attended adult education classes to learn English, and eventually found his way to Cabrillo College. It was there Barreto took a writing class taught by Anita Wilkins, who took a liking to his writing. She told him that she would use his work as an example in her future classes, which was an experience Barreto called “empowering.”
“She inspired me to keep writing,” he said.
In “El Otro Lado (The Other Side),” Barreto describes growing up in Guadalajara, and how he assimilated into the United States. He said the book is his way of helping guide immigrants through a time of uncertainty on the national front.
Barreto, who works as a counselor for youth in Santa Cruz County, said writing the memoir took a number of years to complete. He also praised the members of a writers’ group he is a part of in Santa Cruz, for helping improve his work.
“El Otro Lado (The Other Side)” is available at Kelly’s Books, Amazon.com and Bookshop Santa Cruz, 1520 Pacific Ave.