Author Reyna Grande shortens the “Distance Between Us” as she visits Godinez


Marco Morales

“The Distance Between Us” Author, Reyna Grande is seen answering a question by a Godinez Fundamental High School student.

Marco Morales, Reporter

“The Distance Between Us,” author, Reyna Grande, visited Godinez Fundamental High School to give students a much more detailed insight on her tough journey from Mexico to “El Otro Lado.”

On Wednesday, August 28, 2019, Grande presented at the Godinez theater for second and third period English students and invited guests from the English teachers. Later that day, Grande visited art teacher, Helen Siegel’s class and then wrapped up the day by having lunch with a selected amount of students for a Q&A in the Grizzly Flexlab.

When asked why Grande writes, she said one of the sayings of her favorite writer, James Baldwin, “Write in order to change the world.”

“It’s something that has been recurring throughout history. We have to come together as a country to make sure we learn from one of those mistakes and stop doing that.”

— Reyna Grande

One of the important topics that Grande writes about is immigration, something that the majority of our students know.

Grande said, “I write about immigration… it is a very personal topic for me to explore because I am an immigrant and I love writing about my immigrant experiences and speaking up for my immigrant community.”

Grande’s goal for her writing is to help people understand who the immigrant community is and to encourage people to “see them for who they are.”

Senior, Moises Cerda, said, “The assembly was great, I saw others in attendance such as Mr. Church (principal) and some of my friends as well. What I found the most interesting was the amount of clever questions students asked.”

Towards the end of the assembly, Grande opened up the chance for students to ask her questions.

One student asked the question, “What are your views on the immigration problems that had been going on recently?” Grande answered, “It’s something that has been recurring throughout history. We have to come together as a country to make sure we learn from one of those mistakes and stop doing that. It doesn’t help when we have a leader who creates chaos among groups.”

English teacher, Marissa Elliott, commented on the way the visit may have helped her students.

Elliott said, “I think it’s really great for students to see the person behind the book. They are able to make a connection with her stories and the text. I had my students come up with questions prior to the meeting which I think helped them.” 

As the day continued, Grande visited Siegel’s art class to meet Christopher Mendoza and Juliana Recinos, the students behind creating the school wide reading poster for “The Distance Between Us.”

Roman Arcos
Artist Christopher Mendoza (left), Reyna Grande (middle), and artist Juliana Recinos (right) are seen taking a photo with the schoolwide reading poster for “The Distance Between Us” in the background.


During lunchtime, another group of Godinez students had lunch and a Q&A session with Grande where they were given a chance to have a conversation one on one and ask more questions about her writings and life. 

Over a Subway lunch, Grande continued to answer questions including how tough it was to write about her family secrets.

Grande reflected that sharing her story was her way of “getting it out.”

Grande’s story of her family and her growth continues in her sequel to “The Distance Between Us” called “A Dream Called Home” which was released Octobor 2018.

The book progresses her story about her time as an adult in the United States and at the University of California at Santa Cruz.