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Reyna Grande is an award-winning novelist and memoirist. She has received an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award, and the International Latino Book Award. In 2012, she was a finalist for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Awards, and in 2015 she was honored with a Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature. Her works have been published internationally in Norway, South Korea, and Mexico.

Her novels, Across a Hundred Mountains, (Atria, 2006) and Dancing with Butterflies (Washington Square Press, 2009) were published to critical acclaim. In her latest book, The Distance Between Us, ( Atria, 2012) Reyna writes about her life before and after illegally immigrating from Mexico to the United States. An inspirational coming-of-age story about the pursuit of a better life, The Distance Between Us is now available as a young readers edition from Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Division–Aladdin. It has received a 2017 Honor Book Award for the Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature and a 2016 Eureka! Honor Awards from the California Reading Association, and an International Literacy Association Children’s Book Award 2017.

Reyna is a member of the Macondo Writer’s Workshop founded by Sandra Cisneros. Currently Reyna teaches creative writing, travels across the country and abroad to give presentations about her books, and is at work on the sequel to The Distance Between Us

Born in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico (where 43 college students disappeared in 2014), 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 left Iguala to make her own journey north. She entered the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant, and later went on to become the first person in her family to graduate from college.

After attending Pasadena City College for two years, Reyna obtained a B.A. in creative writing and film & video from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She later received her M.F.A. in creative writing from Antioch University. Now, in addition to being a published author, she is also a sought-after motivational speaker at high schools, colleges, and universities across the nation.


Awards & Recognitions

International Literacy Association Children’s Book Award 2017
2016 Eureka! Honor Awards from the California Reading Association
2017 Honor Book Award for the Américas Award for Children’s Literature
Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature 2015
National Book Critics Circle Awards Finalist 2012
2010 International Latino Book Award
American Book Award 2007
El Premio Aztlan Literary Award 2006
Las Comadres Para Las Americas Book Club Nov/2012
One of the Best Adult Books 4 Teens 2012 (School Library Journal)
One of the 15 Best Books of 2012 (The Christian Science Monitor)

Common Reading Programs

Notre Dame Academy Common Reader 2017, KY 
CityRead Book 2017, Brentwood, CA
Timberland Reads Together 2017, WA
2017 Telluride, CO One Book, One Canyon
2017 Estes Park One Book, One Valley
2017 Cal Poly Pomona Common Read
2017 Northern Kentucky University First Year Experience
2017 Avila University First Year Experience
2017 Marist College Common Read
2017 Cal State University, Monterey Bay Common Reading Experience
2016 One Book/One Community, Saginaw, MI
2016 Woodland Reads, Woodland, CA
2016 Colorado Mountain College Common Reader Selection
2016 Camarillo Reads Selection, Camarillo, CA
2015 One Book/One Villanova, Villanova University, PA
2015 Sandy Springs Reads selection, Sandy Springs, GA
2015 Los Angeles City College Book Program Selection, CA
2015 Mount San Jacinto College Common Read Selection, CA
2015 Read 2 Succeed Selection, Norco College, Norco, CA
2015 Roswell Reads Selection, Roswell, GA
2015 One Book/One Leyden selection, Leyden High School, IL
2014 One Maryland, One Book
2014 One Community, One Book selection from the U of Iowa Center for Human Rights
2014 Santa Rosa Jun16ior College Reads
2014 One Book, One Community-San Juan College
2014 Rolling Meadows High School Summer Reading Program
2014-15 “Book in Common,” Butte College/Chico State University
Grand Valley State University “Common Reading” 2013
California State University-Los Angeles “First Year Experience” Selection 2014
Goshen College, “First Year Experience” Selection 2014
Monroe County’s One Book/One Community 2014
2007 “One Book/One Region”, Eastern Connecticut
2010 On the Same Page (Community Read), City of Watsonville, CA
Ramona Convent Secondary School “One School/One Community” selection 2013-14
Owensboro Community & Technical College Common Reading Selection 2012

Keynotes and Residencies

2017 Woman of the Year Award Keynote Speaker, CA State Assembly
2017 Keynote Speaker, Voice Your Language Conference, San Diego SU 
2016 Keynote Speaker, Reclassification Celebration, Santa Maria JUSD
2014 Author-in-Residence, Park City High School, UT
2012 Author-in-Residence, Pasadena City College, CA
2014 Keynote Speaker ~ MATSOL, (Boston, MA)
2014 Keynote Speaker, Borders of Diversity Conference, Pasadena City College, Pasadena, CA
2013 Keynote Speaker ~ CATESOL, (San Diego, CA)
2013 Keynote Speaker: Puente  Motivational Conference, (San Francisco & Riverside, CA)
2013 Keynote Speaker: Comadres & Compadres Latino Writers Conference, (Brooklyn, NY)
2013 Keynote Speaker: Latino Recognition Ceremony, Pasadena City College, (Pasadena, CA)
2013 Cerro Visiting Author: Bakersfield College, Delano Campus, (Delano, CA)
2013 Keynote Speaker: Goostree Women’s Symposium (Fort Worth, TX)
2013 Keynote Speaker: Latina History Day Conference, HOPE (Los Angeles, CA)
2013 Featured Speaker: California Association of Bilingual Education, (Long Beach, CA)
2012 Keynote Speaker: Texas Association of Bilingual Education (San Antonio, TX)
2012 Keynote Speaker: Leonardo Dorantes Lecture Series, Santa Barbara City College
2012 Writer-in-Residence: Pasadena City College (Pasadena, CA)
2012 Keynote Speaker: Latino Youth Summit (Kearney, Nebraska)
2010 Keynote Speaker: CMAA Scholarship Breakfast (Council of Mexican-American Administrators)
2010 Keynote Speaker: CABE (California Association of Bilingual Education)
2010 Nancy R. Chandler Visiting Scholar: Central Oregon Community College (Bend, OR)
2010 Keynote Speaker:  PVUSD 4th Annual Parent Conference (Watsonville, CA)
2009 Keynote Speaker : Regional Family Conference, Migrant Education Region XVIII (Santa Maria, CA)
2009 Cerro Visiting Author: Bakersfield College (Bakersfield, CA)
2009 Keynote Speaker:  Adelante Mujer Latina Youth Conference (Laramie County, WY)
2009 Commencement Speaker: CSUDH Dolores Huerta Graduation (Carson, CA)
2008 Commencement Speaker: Pasadena City College (Pasadena, CA)
2008 Keynote Speaker: SCTE Fall Conference (Southland Council of Teachers of English)
2007 Keynote Speaker: Conference of the Living Tree, Ventura, CA
2007 Keynote Speaker: ECCTYC Conference (English Council of California Two-Year Colleges)
2007 Highlighted author for LEAP (Learn, Experience, Achieve, and Persevere): Butte College (Chico, CA)


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