Under the Feet of Jesus

2019-2020 Common Reading Book


Under the Feet of Jesus Book Cover

Under the Feet of Jesus

by Helena María Viramontes

A story of loss and survival, Under the Feet of Jesus is a lyrical, powerful novel about the lives of the children, women, and men who endure a difficult existence and labor under dangerous conditions as migrant workers in California’s fields. Through central characters like the teenager, Estrella, and her mother, Petra, the book explores interrelated topics of farm labor, health care, material resources, and environmental justice. The title of the book refers to birth certificates and other important documents kept in a portable statue of Jesus that moves with the family to each new location along the agricultural production cycle.



Helena Maria Viramontes
About the Author

In addition to Under the Feet of Jesus, Helena María Viramontes is the author of numerous short stories and the novel, Their Dogs Came With Them. Viramontes has co-edited two collections: Chicana (W)Rites: On Word and Film and Chicana Creativity and Criticism. The Goldwin Smith Professor of English at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, she is also a recipient of a United States Artist Fellowship among other awards and fellowships. Her writings have been widely anthologized and adopted for academic study such as the critical reader, Rebozos De Palabras. A community organizer and former coordinator of the Los Angeles Latino Writers Association, Viramontes is a frequent lecturer in the U.S. and internationally. Their Dogs Came With Them has recently been adapted into a play. She is finalizing a draft of her third novel.