The distance between us

Reyna Grande

Book - 2016

"At the age of 8, Reyna Grande made the dangerous and illegal trek across the border from Mexico to the United States, and discovered that the American Dream is much more complicated than it seemed."--Provided by publisher.

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Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Reyna's parents have moved to El Otro Lado (The Other Side) and have left her behind. In this young readers edition of her memoir, Grande writes about a difficult time in her childhood when her parents moved to the U.S. and she stayed behind in Iguala, Mexico, with her older siblings. Grande shares a timely story of a transnational family and the economic and emotional hardships she endured—such as not being adequately taken care of by her grandmother and being called an "orphan" by other children. While her parents have left in search of work, Reyna just wants her family back together and does not entirely understand why they had to leave in the first place. Readers will be captivated by Grande's beautiful and heart-wrenching story, from her detailed inner thoughts to the descriptions of the environment around her. Her longing to reconnect with her father, whom she refers to as the "man behind the glass," because she only knows him through an old framed photograph, is one readers will avidly follow. Grande's memoir offers an important account of the many ways immigration impacts children. Similar stories that touch on themes of immigration and family include the young-adult adaptation of Sonia Nazario's Enrique's Journey (2013) and Margarita Engle's Enchanted Air (2015). Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 6–9—In this adaptation of her memoir, award-winning author Grande chronicles her life, from living in Guerrero, Mexico, as a child to attending college in the United States. Themes of poverty, survival, undocumented immigration, health concerns, and domestic violence are juxtaposed against her deep yearning to experience her parents' unconditional love and support and a hunger to excel academically. Throughout the book, she describes how she struggled to hold family relationships and her own identity together under the relentless strains of an immigrant experience. Strong sibling bonds provided support as Grande doggedly worked toward academic success and her dream of college and a place to find peace. This honest first-person account may be a mirror for many readers, allowing them to see reflections of their own strengths, possibilities, and hopes. For others, it offers a humanizing window into the Mexican American experience. VERDICT An important addition to any library serving middle grade students, given its compelling narrative and the gap it fills in the available memoir subgenre for this level.—Ruth Quiroa, National Louis University, IL [Page 98]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Presents a young reader's adaptation of the author's experiences as an illegal child immigrant, describing her father's violent alcoholism, her efforts to obtain a higher education, and the inspiration of Latina authors.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Adapted for younger audiences, the National Book Critics Circle Award-nominated memoir captures the struggles of a young Mexican girl who lives with a stern grandparent while waiting for her parents to establish lives as illegal immigrants in the United States before she embarks on the dangerous crossing herself. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"At the age of 8, Reyna Grande made the dangerous and illegal trek across the border from Mexico to the United States, and discovered that the American Dream is much more complicated that it seemed."--Provided by publisher.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Award-winning author Reyna Grande shares her compelling experience of crossing borders and cultures in this middle grade adaptation of her “compelling…unvarnished, resonant” (BookPage) memoir, The Distance Between Us.When her parents make the dangerous and illegal trek across the Mexican border in pursuit of the American dream, Reyna and her siblings are forced to live with their stern grandmother, as they wait for their parents to build the foundation of a new life.But when things don’t go quite as planned, Reyna finds herself preparing for her own journey to “El Otro Lado” to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years: her long-absent father. Both funny and heartbreaking, The Distance Between Us beautifully captures the struggle that Reyna and her siblings endured while trying to assimilate to a different culture, language, and family life in El Otro Lado (The Other Side).

Review by Publisher Summary 5

Award-winning author Reyna Grande shares her compelling experience of crossing borders and cultures in this middle grade adaptation of her 'compelling'unvarnished, resonant' (BookPage) memoir, The Distance Between Us.When her parents make the dangerous and illegal trek across the Mexican border in pursuit of the American dream, Reyna and her siblings are forced to live with their stern grandmother, as they wait for their parents to build the foundation of a new life.But when things don't go quite as planned, Reyna finds herself preparing for her own journey to 'El Otro Lado' to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years: her long-absent father. Both funny and heartbreaking, The Distance Between Us beautifully captures the struggle that Reyna and her siblings endured while trying to assimilate to a different culture, language, and family life in El Otro Lado (The Other Side).