Vermont Humanities

Suggested Activities

Black and white cartoon drawing of a farmer in rubber boots with cows in a Vermont barn yard
Vermont Reads

There are many ways to approach The Most Costly Journey as you explore activities to enrich your community experience. They range from book discussions, online and in-person talks, to cartooning and other art and writing projects. We are happy to share ideas and help in any way.

We urge you to share your events by submitting them via our online form so we can help spread the word!

Attend a Vermont Reads 2022 Event

To support Vermont Reads 2022 we’ll host a series of monthly public events starting in July, featuring in-person and online discussions and presentations related to the themes in The Most Costly Journey. This will include up to a dozen Fall Festival events in October and regular First Wednesdays lectures on these topics through May 2023. Encourage members of your community to attend these events.

View upcoming Vermont Reads events

Hold The Most Costly Journey Discussions

A group discussion of The Most Costly Journey should be facilitated by a person who is comfortable leading conversations in which everyone feels encouraged to participate. Facilitators might be teachers, librarians, or others who are skilled and enthusiastic about leading a discussion about The Most Costly Journey. See the Leading a Book Discussion page for suggested questions and tips for a successful book discussion.

Leading a Book Discussion Page

Host a Book Discussion Series

Our Reading & Discussion program is an easy, inexpensive way for libraries and other nonprofit organizations to host high-quality, facilitated book discussions in their communities. We provide the books, and trained scholars lead each session. The following series are related to the themes in The Most Costly Journey:

Related Reading & Discussion Series

Image of March: Book One cover

The March Trilogy

The “March” Trilogy was written by civil rights icon John Lewis, in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and award-winning graphic artist Nate Powell. All three volumes illustrate the story of Lewis’s commitment to nonviolent protest in the pursuit of social justice.

Host a Guest Speaker

Our Speakers Bureau provides informative and thought-provoking presentations by scholars and experts on diverse humanities topics. These rich experiences are accessible for Vermont non-profit organizations to present in their community for a small fee. The following Speakers Bureau talks relate to the themes in The Most Costly Journey:

Related Speakers Bureau Talks

Market Bennett wearing a blue shirt with a tan fedora hat drawing at a table

“The Most Costly Journey” Comics Workshop with Marek Bennett

Join award-winning cartoonist and educator Marek Bennett for a closer look at the Vermont Reads 2022 book “The Most Costly Journey.” He leads a hands-on demo to show how YOU can cartoon the stories of your own family, neighborhood, and wider world.

“The Most Costly Journey” Latin American Migrant Workers, Health Care, and Collaborative Non-Fiction Comics

Andy Kolovos from the Vermont Folklife Center and/or Julia Grand Doucet from the Open Door Clinic provide an overview of the goals of the El Viaje Más Caro Project, the collaborative methods that define its approach, and insight into the lives and experiences of the workers whose labor supports the continued viability of dairy farming in Vermont.

Rajnii Eddins beside a brick wall

The Value of Our Stories

Each one of us has a story that is valuable. In this presentation, Rajnii Eddins will share his poetry, and will discuss how our stories can be used to confront racism and other injustices, affirm diversity and equity, and initiate community dialogue.

Host a Movie Night

There are many movies that may provide context and complement the themes of The Most Costly Journey; here is a partial list. We recommend previewing all films before sharing with your group.

La Bestia (The Beast) (2020)
In this short animated film, a young Mexican smuggler and a little girl travel illegally on top of a cargo train, called La Bestia, to get to the USA. An injury transforms his perception of the journey.

La Ciudad (The City) (1998)
Four vignettes plunge viewers into New York City neighborhoods where Latin American immigrants, many of whom speak little English, live at the mercy of exploitative employers and inflexible institutions. Many of the characters are in the United States illegally to make money in order to send back home to their poor families.

Estrellita (Little Star) (2018)
In this short animated film, a girl growing up on a Vermont dairy farm discovers a tragic reality about her family.

El Norte (The North) (1983)
Two indigenous youths flee Guatemala due to the ethnic and political persecution of the Guatemalan Civil War. They head north and travel through Mexico to the United States, arriving in Los Angeles, California, after an arduous journey.

Silenced Voices (2014)
Migrant Farmworker Josʹe Obeth Santiz Cruz was killed in a farming accident in December 2009 in Vermont. The Vermont Migrant Farmworker Solidarity Project sent a delegation to Mexico to return his remains and document his family and community coming to terms with his death and sharing stories about the causes, effects, and their experiences of migration.

The Unafraid (2018)
A feature-length documentary that follows the lives of three DACA students in Georgia, a state that has banned them from attending their top state universities and disqualifies them from receiving in-state tuition at any other public college. Shot in an observational style over a period of four years, this film takes an intimate look at the lives of Alejandro, Silvia and Aldo as they fight for the rights of their families and communities.

Under the Cloak of Darkness (2008)
A feature-length documentary about Vermont’s migrant Mexican farm worker population that aims to humanize this invisible community and bring to light the issues surrounding migrant labor.

Who is Dayani Crystal? (2013)
Starring Mexican actor and activist Gael Garcia Bernal, this feature film tells the story of a migrant who found himself in the deadly stretch of desert known as “the corridor of death” and shows how one life becomes testimony to the tragic results of the U.S. war on immigration. As the real-life drama unfolds we see this John Doe, denied an identity at his point of death, become a living and breathing human being with an important life story. The film is available to stream from Google Play.

Books, Films, Podcasts, and Articles about Migrant Workers

Comics Workshops

Consider hosting a comics workshop for readers of all ages, led by a local artist or by a guest artist from places such as the Center for Cartoon Studies.

Marek Bennett, a cartoonist who was deeply involved in the creation of The Most Costly Journey, offers one-day and three-day comics workshops, along with other comics training. His 2022 workshops are virtual by default, with in-person and hybrid formats available by arrangement. Programs typically book 6+ months ahead.

We recommend Marek’s three-part graphic novel series, The Civil War Diary of Freeman Colby as another example of how comics aid storytelling and learning about history. His Nicaragua Comics Travel Journal also provides insight into life in Central America.

More about Marek’s Comics Workshops


The Vermont Folklife Center is developing a series of displays about The Most Costly Journey and its farm worker storytellers. These will consist of four narrow, stand-alone panels that can be adapted to many spaces and will be available through interlibrary loan. We’ll post more details about how to book one of the displays in July, 2022.

Libraries, bookstores, schools: be sure to create a prominent display of Vermont Reads 2022: The Most Costly Journey books and other related titles at the public library, school library, or local bookstore along with helpful information from associated organizations.

Oral History Projects

The stories told in The Most Costly Journey were gathered through oral history interviews. Consider creating a project to gather stories in your community as part of your Vermont Reads program.

The Vermont Folklife Center offers workshops for those interested in developing skills in ethnography, oral history and cultural documentation. Through these trainings they provide the theoretical background and technical skills for participants to ethically and respectfully explore the cultural fabrics of their home communities and the broader communities of which we are a part.

Contact them at to discuss scheduling workshops for your community or organization.

More about Vermont Folklife Center workshops

Culminating Celebrations

Communities often choose to conclude their Vermont Reads activities with a celebratory event co-hosted with other collaborating organizations. Organize a show that documents your activities with drawings and posters, storytelling and a movie or presentation. These final events are useful for showcasing student work done as part of the Vermont Reads project, recognizing contest winners, or hosting a panel discussion or presentation. Consider singing or playing songs from Latin America during the event!

While potlucks are a fun way to provide food for such celebrations, considering hiring local restauranteurs or caterers from the Latinx community to support members of this community.

Vermont Humanities*** April 1, 2022