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Exploring identity, friendship, racism and breakdancing in Iowa

The Talk of Iowa book club has been reading We Heard it When We Were Young, Chuy Renteria's coming-of-age memoir about growing up in West Liberty, Iowa — the first majority-Latino town in the state. Located about 30 miles east of Iowa City, West Liberty is a thriving community that has gotten a lot of attention over the years for embracing diversity in its schools and elsewhere. When Renteria was growing up, the community was going through a sometimes difficult evolution. He writes about the challenges he and other first-generation or immigrant kids encountered at that specific time, as well as the gulf between him and his parents, who came to the United States from Mexico.

Renteria joins the program along with poet and actor Matthew Marroquín and West Liberty city council member Dana Dominguez.


  • Chuy Renteria | author of We Heard it When We Were Young and assistant director of Inclusive Education and Strategic Initiatives at the University of Iowa
  • Matthew Marroquín |poet, actor and author of Guanaco Binge
  • Dana Dominguez | West Liberty City Council member and member of the University of Iowa Latinx Council
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Caitlin Troutman is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio