Written by Brenda Evaristo
Reyna Grande was born in Guerrero, Mexico on September 7th, 1975. Grande is an accomplished author and influential speaker. At the young age of two her father left to the “other side” in search of a better life and her mother shortly followed him. Thus leaving behind Reyna and her siblings in Mexico to live with their grandmother. Eventually in 1985, Reyna Grande made her journey to the United States and her journey to reaching the American Dream.
After moving to Los Angeles with her father, Reyna encountered more difficulties than she expected from language barriers to violence in her home. Grande believed the American Dream was a fairytale and even mentioned that she believed the trees in the United States had bills as leaves. However she soon realized it was something much different and this transformed her original dream.
After finishing high school, Grande enrolled in Pasadena City College and finished her first two years there prior to transferring to the University of California, Santa Cruz. She received her B.A. in creative writing and film. Grande then went on to obtain her M.F.A from Antioch University. During this time, Grande released her novel, Across A Hundred Mountains which became a critically acclaimed novel and gained her the American Book Award in 2007. Grande is a recipient of the Luis Leal Awrd for Disticntion in Chicano Literaure, Moreover Grande is also a faculty member of the Macondo Writer’s Workshop founded by Sandra Cisneros.Additionally, Grande has released more novels, my personal favorite, The Distance Between Us which is an autobiography of her journey and life as an undocumented Latinx in the United States. Grande is an influential speaker and has given speeches to the young children in middle and high school.
Grande’s novel , The Distance Between Us is the reason why I strongly resonated with her experience with colliding worlds and cultures. Both my mom and I read her spanish version of the novel and it was so relieving to be so accurately identified in a book. Her novel put into words how traditional Mexican culture can be in the United States and that was that amazed me since I have not found a novel that does the same. More importantly it reconnected me with my roots and sharing my thoughts on the novel with my mom in spanish just added to that connection.
“Award Winning Author and Inspirational Speaker.” Reyna Grande, reynagrande.com/