Born in Mexico, Reyna was two years old when her father left for the U.S. to find work. Her mother followed her father north two years later, leaving Reyna and her siblings behind in Mexico. In 1985, when Reyna was going on ten, she entered the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant. She went on to become the first person in her family to graduate from college.
Reyna holds a B.A. in creative writing and film & video from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She received her M.F.A. in creative writing from Antioch University. She is an active promoter of Latino literature and has worked as a program coordinator for festivals such as the 2009 and 2010 Latino Book & Family Festival. She has also served as a judge for literary awards such as Pen USA Literary Awards and the El Premio Aztlán. She teaches creative writing workshops in her community and speaks at high schools, colleges, and universities across the nation. Reyna is also a member of the Macondo Writers Workshop, founded by renowned author Sandra Cisneros.
The Distance Between Us, Reyna's third book, will be published on August 28, 2012, by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. In this memoir, Reyna vividly brings to life her tumultuous early years, capturing all the confusion and contradictions of childhood, especially one spent torn between two parents and two countries. The Distance Between Us is an inspirational coming-of-age story about the pursuit of a better life.
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Email ~ reynagrande AT gmail DOT com
Mago pointed to a spot on the dirt floor and reminded me that my umbilical cord was buried there. “That way,” Mami told the midwife, “no matter where life takes her, she won’t ever forget where she came from.” Then Mago touched my belly button . . . She said that my umbilical cord was like a ribbon that connected me to Mami. She said, “It doesn’t matter that there’s a distance btween us now. That cord is there forever.”
When Reyna Grande’s father leaves his wife and three children behind in a village in Mexico to make the dangerous trek across the border to the United States, he promises he will soon return from “El Otro Lado” (The Other Side) with enough money to build them a dream house where they can all live together. His promises become harder to believe as months turn into years. When he summons his wife to join him, Reyna and her siblings are deposited in the already overburdened household of their stern, unsmiling grandmother.
The three siblings are forced to look out for themselves; in childish games they find a way to forget the pain of abandonment and learn to solve very adult problems. When their mother at last returns, the reunion sets the stage for a dramatic new chapter in Reyna’s young life: her own journey to “El Otro Lado” to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years, her long-absent father.
In this extraordinary memoir, award-winning writer Reyna Grande vividly brings to life her tumultuous early years, capturing all the confusion and contradictions of childhood, especially one spent torn between two parents and two countries. Elated when she feels the glow of her father’s love and approval, Reyna knows that at any moment he might turn angry or violent. Only in books and music and her rich imaginary life does she find solace, a momentary refuge from a world in which every place feels like “El Otro Lado.”
The Distance Between Us captures one girl’s passage from childhood to adolescence and beyond. A funny, heartbreaking, lyrical story, it reminds us that the joys and sorrows of childhood are always with us, invisible to the eye but imprinted on the heart, forever calling out to us of those places we first called home.
Thanks to the publisher, I have three (3) copies of The Distance Between Us to give away.
Giveaway open to residents of the US & Canada only
Giveaway ends on September 20th
Winner will have 48 hours, from the time of notification to confirm their win, or another winner will be chosen.
August 27th – Carla Stewart
August 28th – Spencer Quinn & Kaye George
August 29th – Krista Davis & Matthew Dicks
August 30th – Sheryn MacMunn
August 31st – Jane Myers Perrine & Charles Martin
September 3rd – Denise Swanson
September 4th – Christa Black
September 5th – Joanna Campbell Slan & Josie Brown
September 6th – Reyna Grande & Nancy M. Griffis
September 7th – Cathy Lamb & D.E. Johnson
September 8th – Cleo Coyle
September 9th – Kristina McMorris
September 10th – J.T. Ellison