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The Distance Between Us

by Reyna Grande

Published by Young Readers Edition. Aladdin, 2016
322 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4814-6371-3

Age 13 and older

This adaptation of Grande’s adult book about her early childhood in Mexico and young adulthood in the United States is always moving, at times harrowing, and also inspiring. In Mexico, Reyna and her siblings live first with their emotionally distant but wealthier paternal grandmother, and then with their poor but loving maternal grandmother. Their parents are in El otro lado (the United States) to earn money. When their parents separate, their mother comes back to Mexico alone. Her commitment to her children is unreliable, while their father, still in the United States, doesn’t seem to think about them at all. Then he returns for a visit with his new wife, and Reyna and her siblings convince him to take them with him back to the United States. After three dangerous tries to cross the border they arrive and begin to settle into their new lives. Reyna, 10, is learning English, attending school, and navigating a new family structure. Their father wants his children to succeed but also has a terrible temper, and he becomes more and more abusive as she and her siblings get older. Eventually, Reyna is able to leave for community college, where an extraordinary teacher helps her see herself as a writer. This memoir that touches on issues relatable to many teen readers always remains a personal and compelling story. (Age 13 and older)  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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