Hispanic Heritage Month
The Distance Between Us
In this inspirational and unflinchingly honest memoir, acclaimed author Reyna Grande describes her childhood torn between the United States and Mexico, and shines a light on the experiences, fears, and hopes of those who choose to make the harrowing journey across the border.
Reyna Grande vividly brings to life her tumultuous early years in this “compelling...unvarnished, resonant” (BookPage) story of a childhood spent torn between two parents and two countries. As her parents make the dangerous trek across the Mexican border to “El Otro Lado” (The Other Side) in pursuit of the American dream, Reyna and her siblings are forced into the already overburdened household of their stern grandmother. When their mother at last returns, Reyna prepares for her own journey to “El Otro Lado” to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years, her long-absent father.
Funny, heartbreaking, and lyrical, The Distance Between Us poignantly captures the confusion and contradictions of childhood, reminding us that the joys and sorrows we experience are imprinted on the heart forever, calling out to us of those places we first called home.
Also available in Spanish as La distancia entre nosotros.
Recommended by the New York Times and NBC News, and called one of the Best Books of the Year by Buzzfeed!
The New York Times directs readers to Retablos if you want to know "what's life really like on the Mexican border." "Solis grew up just a mile from the Rio Grande in El Paso, Texas, and he tells stories about his childhood and coming of age, including his parents migration to the United States from Mexico, his first encounter with racism and finding a Mexican migrant girl hiding in the cotton fields."—Concepción de León, New York Times
Seminal moments, rites of passage, crystalline vignettes—a memoir about growing up brown at the U.S./Mexico border.
More praise for Octavio Solis's Retablos:
"This is American and Mexican literature a stone's throw from the always hustling El Paso border."—Gary Soto, author of The Elements of San Joaquin
"We inhabit a border world rich in characters, lush with details, playful and poignant, a border that refutes the stereotypes and divisions smaller minds create. Solis reminds us that sometimes the most profound truths are best told with crafted fictions--and he is a master at it."--Julia Alvarez, author of How the García Girls Lost Their Accents
" . . . it's hard not to consider the border itself as a representation of a 'terrible rift,' a split between homes, communities, identities, generations. While reading this generous and eye-opening account, it's easy to see how, for the country at large, the rift has only deepened.”-- Arianna Rebolini, Buzzfeed Best Books of Fall 2018
"Landing somewhere between Neil Gaiman and Juan Rulfo, Solis secularizes the mythological by turning men and women into saintly figures—like their criada [maid], Consuelo, and a white priest who shows his family empathy—and monsters: border agents who take his friends away and school bullies."—Michael Adam Carroll, The Millions
"There has never been a border book like Retablos, a collection of smoldering epiphanies suffering the baptizing waters of recall. . . ."—Roberto Ontiveros, San Antonio Current
"The book is rendered in tight, stand-alone recollections rich with poetry and honesty. . . . If retablos are offerings, then Solis' book is a gift of memory, not always pleasant, but always true."—Beatriz Terrazas, Dallas Morning News
"The experience of reading his tightly contained memories in succession is a bit like drawing old coins up from a wishing well. Filtered through veils of distance and time, these scenes and reflections are wonderful and weird flashes of childhood, adolescence and early adulthood in the life of this particular Mexican American boy."-- Sophie Haigney, San Francisco Chronicle
"Octavio Solis' Retablos recounts a 'beautiful, messy' youth on the border. Though its title evokes Mexican folk art, Retablos is closer in effect to that of French pointillism. Its small dabs of vivid color produce a brilliant cumulative effect."—Steven G. Kellman, The Texas Observer
My Beloved World
Destined to become a classic of self-invention and self-discovery--an inspiring gift for any new graduate.
The first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor has become an instant American icon. Now, with a candor and intimacy never undertaken by a sitting Justice, she recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a journey that offers an inspiring testament to her own extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself.
Here is the story of a precarious childhood, with an alcoholic father (who would die when she was nine) and a devoted but overburdened mother, and of the refuge a little girl took from the turmoil at home with her passionately spirited paternal grandmother. But it was when she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes that the precocious Sonia recognized she must ultimately depend on herself. She would learn to give herself the insulin shots she needed to survive and soon imagined a path to a different life. With only television characters for her professional role models, and little understanding of what was involved, she determined to become a lawyer, a dream that would sustain her on an unlikely course, from valedictorian of her high school class to the highest honors at Princeton, Yale Law School, the New York County District Attorney's office, private practice, and appointment to the Federal District Court before the age of forty. Along the way we see how she was shaped by her invaluable mentors, a failed marriage, and the modern version of extended family she has created from cherished friends and their children. Through her still-astonished eyes, America's infinite possibilities are envisioned anew in this warm and honest book.
A daughter’s quest to understand her charismatic and troubled father, an immigrant who crosses borders both real and illusory—between sanity and madness, science and spirituality, life and death
Winner of the PEN/FUSION Emerging Writers Prize • “Expressive and affecting . . . deeply researched and tightly written . . . Crux, at its heart, is [Jean] Guerrero’s love letter to her dad.”—NPR
Throughout Jean Guerrero’s childhood, her father, Marco Antonio, was an erratic and elusive presence. A self-taught genius at fixing, creating, and conjuring things—and capable of transforming himself into a shaman, dreamcaster, or animal whisperer in his enchanted daughter’s eyes—he gradually began to lose himself in his peculiar obsessions, careening wildly between reality and hallucination. In time, he fled his family and responsibilities—to Asia, Europe, and eventually back to Mexico. He succumbed to drug- and alcohol-fueled manias, while suffering the effects of what he said were CIA mind-control experiments. As soon as she was old enough, Jean set out after him. Now a journalist, she used the tools of her trade, hoping to find answers to the questions he left behind.
In this lyrical, haunting memoir, Jean Guerrero tries to locate the border between truth and fantasy as she searches for explanations for her father’s behavior. Refusing to accept an alleged schizophrenia diagnosis at face value, she takes Marco Antonio’s dark paranoia seriously and investigates all his wildest claims. She crisscrosses the Mexican-American border to unearth the stories of cousins and grandparents and discovers a chain of fabulists and mystics in her lineage, going back to her great-great-grandmother, a clairvoyant curandera who was paid to summon spirits from the afterlife. As she delves deeper and deeper into her family’s shadowy past, Jean begins mirroring her father’s self-destructive behavior. She risks death on her adventures, imperiling everything in her journey to redeem her father from the underworld of his delusions.
In the tradition of engrossing family memoirs like The Liar’s Club and The Glass Castle, Crux is both a riveting adventure story and a profoundly original exploration of the human psyche, the mysteries of our most intimate relationships—and ourselves.
“[Guerrero] writes poetically about borders as a metaphor for the boundary of identity between father and daughter and the porous connective tissues that bind them.”—The National Book Review
Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States
“A rich and moving chronicle for our very present.” —Julio Ortega, New York Times Book Review
The United States is still typically conceived of as an offshoot of England, with our history unfolding east to west beginning with the first English settlers in Jamestown. This view overlooks the significance of America’s Hispanic past. With the profile of the United States increasingly Hispanic, the importance of recovering the Hispanic dimension to our national story has never been greater.
This absorbing narrative begins with the explorers and conquistadores who planted Spain’s first colonies in Puerto Rico, Florida, and the Southwest. Missionaries and rancheros carry Spain’s expansive impulse into the late eighteenth century, settling California, mapping the American interior to the Rockies, and charting the Pacific coast. During the nineteenth century Anglo-America expands west under the banner of “Manifest Destiny” and consolidates control through war with Mexico. In the Hispanic resurgence that follows, it is the peoples of Latin America who overspread the continent, from the Hispanic heartland in the West to major cities such as Chicago, Miami, New York, and Boston. The United States clearly has a Hispanic present and future.
And here is its Hispanic past, presented with characteristic insight and wit by one of our greatest historians.
The Line Becomes a River
NAMED A TOP 10 BOOK OF 2018 BY NPR and THE WASHINGTON POST
SHORTLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL OF EXCELLENCE
The instant New York Times bestseller, "A must-read for anyone who thinks 'build a wall' is the answer to anything." --Esquire
For Francisco Cantú, the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Driven to understand the hard realities of the landscape he loves, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners learn to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights. They haul in the dead and deliver to detention those they find alive. Plagued by a growing awareness of his complicity in a dehumanizing enterprise, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantú discovers that the border has migrated with him, and now he must know the full extent of the violence it wreaks, on both sides of the line.
Perfect for fans of Fresh Off the Boat’s situational humor and Jane the Virgin’s celebration of Latinidad, Definitely Hispanic is a collection of introspective memoiristic essays by social media influencer and viral phenomenon LeJuan James about growing up Hispanic in the US.
LeJuan James loves being Hispanic. But growing up in the United States to immigrant parents, he quickly noticed that their house rules and traditions didn’t always match up with his friends’. The result was a lifetime of laugh-out-loud relatable content for his videos. After half a decade of reenacting his experiences online, LeJuan is taking a closer look at everything he loves about his family’s culture.
Definitely Hispanic is a collection of heartfelt memoiristic essays that explores the themes LeJuan touches upon in his videos and celebrates the values and traditions being kept alive by Hispanic parents raising US–born children. He shares anecdotes about discovering the differences between his and his friends’ households, demystifies “La Pela” (the Spanking), explains the vital role women play in Hispanic families, and pays reverence to universal cultural truths like food is love and music is in Hispanics’ DNA.
From #Home, where he talks about how his family moved back and forth between the United States and Puerto Rico until settling in Orlando, FL, to #TheHouse, when he was finally able to buy his parents the home they deserve thanks to his online success; this wide-ranging collection of essays will resonate with fans of all ages who feel like they straddle the line between two (or more) cultures, languages, and/or identities.
An astonishing story that puts a human face on the ongoing debate about immigration reform in the United States, now updated with a new Epilogue and Afterword, photos of Enrique and his family, an author interview, and more—the definitive edition of a classic of contemporary America
Based on the Los Angeles Times newspaper series that won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for feature writing and another for feature photography, this page-turner about the power of family is a popular text in classrooms and a touchstone for communities across the country to engage in meaningful discussions about this essential American subject.
Enrique's Journey recounts the unforgettable quest of a Honduran boy looking for his mother, eleven years after she is forced to leave her starving family to find work in the United States. Braving unimaginable peril, often clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains, Enrique travels through hostile worlds full of thugs, bandits, and corrupt cops. But he pushes forward, relying on his wit, courage, hope, and the kindness of strangers. As Isabel Allende writes: “This is a twenty-first-century Odyssey. If you are going to read only one nonfiction book this year, it has to be this one.”
Children of the Land
An NPR Best Book of the Year
A 2020 International Latino Book Award Finalists
An Entertainment Weekly, The Millions, and LitHub Most Anticipated Book of the Year
This unforgettable memoir from a prize-winning poet about growing up undocumented in the United States recounts the sorrows and joys of a family torn apart by draconian policies and chronicles one young man’s attempt to build a future in a nation that denies his existence.
“You were not a ghost even though an entire country was scared of you. No one in this story was a ghost. This was not a story.”
When Marcelo Hernandez Castillo was five years old and his family was preparing to cross the border between Mexico and the United States, he suffered temporary, stress-induced blindness. Castillo regained his vision, but quickly understood that he had to move into a threshold of invisibility before settling in California with his parents and siblings. Thus began a new life of hiding in plain sight and of paying extraordinarily careful attention at all times for fear of being truly seen. Before Castillo was one of the most celebrated poets of a generation, he was a boy who perfected his English in the hopes that he might never seem extraordinary.
With beauty, grace, and honesty, Castillo recounts his and his family’s encounters with a system that treats them as criminals for seeking safe, ordinary lives. He writes of the Sunday afternoon when he opened the door to an ICE officer who had one hand on his holster, of the hours he spent making a fake social security card so that he could work to support his family, of his father’s deportation and the decade that he spent waiting to return to his wife and children only to be denied reentry, and of his mother’s heartbreaking decision to leave her children and grandchildren so that she could be reunited with her estranged husband and retire from a life of hard labor.
Children of the Land distills the trauma of displacement, illuminates the human lives behind the headlines and serves as a stunning meditation on what it means to be a man and a citizen.
Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions
American Book Award Winner: A “moving, intimate” account of serving as a translator for undocumented children facing deportation (The New York Times Book Review).
Nonfiction Finalist for the Kirkus Prize
Finalist for National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism
Structured around the forty questions volunteer worker Valeria Luiselli translates from a court system form and asks undocumented Latin American children facing deportation, Tell Me How It Ends humanizes these young migrants and highlights the contradiction between the idea of America as a fiction for immigrants and the reality of racism and fear—here and back home.
“Luiselli’s prose is always lush and astute, but this long essay, which borrows its framework from questions on the cold, bureaucratic work sheets with which she became so familiar (for example, ‘Did anything happen on your trip to the U.S. that scared or hurt you?’), is teeming with urgency…In this slim volume about the spectacular failure of the American Dream, she tells the stories of the unnamed children she’s encountered and their fears and desires, as well as her own family’s immigration story.” —Vulture
“Worthy of inclusion in a great American (and international) canon of writing about migration.” –Texas Observer
“A powerful indictment of American immigration policy, [Tell Me How It Ends] examines a system that has failed child refugees in particular.” —Financial Times
“Masterfully blends journalism, auto/biography, and political history into a compelling and cohesive narrative. . . . Luiselli uses the personal to get political but smartly sidesteps identity politics to focus on policy instead.”—The Rumpus