The Big Read Holland Area will begin a month early with a showing of the documentary film “On Two Fronts: Latinos and Vietnam” on Thursday, Oct. 8, at 7:30 p.m. at the Hope College Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

“On Two Fronts: Latinos and Vietnam” has been scheduled in conjunction with national Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) and in anticipation of the multiple events taking place across November during The Big Read Holland Area.

The film examines the Latino experience during the Vietnam War. Framing the documentary are memoirs of two siblings, Everett and Delia Alvarez, who stood on opposite sides of the Vietnam War, one as a prisoner of war, and the other protesting at home. Other stories deepen the narrative as in Greenlee County, Arizona, miners’ children fought and died for their country in devastating proportions. Sisters and mothers took notice and action. A farmworker’s son translated his military experience into a career before resigning in protest from his post on a local draft board.

Filmed on location throughout the Southwest and in Vietnam, “On Two Fronts: Latinos & Vietnam” combines photography with home movies and news footage, while featuring music composed by Chicano Batman.  The film is rated PG.

The Big Read Holland Area, which is coordinated by Hope in partnership with Herrick District Library, is a community-wide reading event that will be focusing on Tim O’Brien’s book “The Things They Carried.”  The book is a semi-autobiographical collection of short stories based on O’Brien’s experiences serving in the 23rd Infantry division during the Vietnam War.

The program will feature several main events and book discussions hosted by a variety of community organizations across the month of November.  The opening celebration will feature the address “The Legacy of Their Burdens” by Dr. Fred Johnson, associate professor of history at Hope, on Monday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. in the Maas Center auditorium. The program’s keynote address will be by O’Brien on Thursday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. at the Commons of Evergreen.  More information about all of The Big Read Holland Area activities is available at

The Big Read Holland Area is supported through an award to Hope through “The Big Read,” a program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with Arts Midwest.  Managed by Arts Midwest, The Big Read is designed to revitalize the role of reading in American culture by exposing citizens to great works of literature and encouraging them to read for pleasure.

Hope is one of only 75 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive a grant to host a Big Read project between September 2015 and June 2016.  Hope had also received a grant last year, with The Big Read Holland Area exploring “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Knickerbocker Theatre is located at 86 E. Eighth St.