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Annual Community Reading Project book announced

  • Reyna Grande is the author of The Distance Between Us, the CRP selection for the upcoming academic year.

Posted on June 14, 2013

Participants in the ninth annual Community Reading Project at Grand Valley will learn about the lives of Mexican-American families as they risk everything for a new life in the United States.

The CRP committee selected Reyna Grande’s “The Distance Between Us” as the 2013-2014 book that hundreds of students, faculty and staff members, and community members will read and discuss at various events throughout the year.

Grande will make two West Michigan appearances next spring. She will speak in Holland March 24 at the Herrick District Library, through a continued partnership with the public library; and at Grand Valley on March 25.

In her 2012 memoir, Grande recounts her tumultuous childhood that was spent torn between two parents and two countries. Her Mexican parents make the dangerous journey across the border in pursuit of a new life, leaving their children behind. Grande arrived in the U.S. at age 9 as an undocumented immigrant to live with her father. She quickly learns that life in America is far from perfect.

The book was named a National Book Circle Critics Award finalist.

Brian Jbara, director of the Office of Integrative Learning and Advising, said it provides an authentic look into the experiences of Mexican-American families. Jbara said the book will have broad appeal to the campus community and members of the public who want to participate.

Award-winning author Sandra Cisneros said “The Distance Between Us” is an American story of a Latino immigrant for the new millennium. “What makes Grande’s beautiful memoir all the more extraordinary is that, through this hero’s journey, she speaks for millions of immigrants whose voices have gone unheard,” Cisneros said.

Her first novel, “Across a Hundred Mountains,” was published in 2006 and earned the Latino Books Into Movies Award, American Book Award and El Premio Aztlán Literary Award. Grande also wrote “Dancing with Butterflies,” published in 2009.

Book kits will be available through University Libraries at the beginning of the fall semester.

The CRP is sponsored by the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, University Libraries and University Bookstore. For more information, visit


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