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The Distance Between Us: Young Readers Edition

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  426 ratings  ·  77 reviews
Award-winning author Reyna Grande shares her compelling experience of crossing borders and cultures in this middle grade adaptation of her “compelling…unvarnished, resonant” (BookPage) memoir, The Distance Between Us.

When her parents make the dangerous and illegal trek across the Mexican border in pursuit of the American dream, Reyna and her siblings are forced to live wit
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Aladdin
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Annamaria A-F
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing

In this incredible book, Reyna Grande does an amazing job of telling the very difficult story of her life. During the course of the book Reyna is always longing for someone who is far away, and how she wished that her family would one day be together. But when she finally crosses the border, her life is not what she thought it would be. Reyna is once again separated from the people she loved. She struggles to achieve at school and not be distracted from the world outside. I recommend this book t
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this at the encouragement of my middle school daughter who said that it was her favorite read so far this year. I have not read the original from which this young reader edition was based. However, I thought that this edition did a nice job of handling difficult topics in such a way that was appropriate for middle school audience. It is a strong memoir that facilitates discussion on important topics like immigration and domestic abuse.
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've loved every book written by a Latina author. To the power of "reading about characters who lived in a world like my own, characters with the same skin color as mine."
While there are many moments in this memoir that are heart-wrenching and downright depressing, there are also moments of joy, beauty, and triumph. Drawn from the author's personal experiences growing up in Iguala, Mexico, first with her paternal grandmother, then her mother, and then her maternal grandmother, the story offers hope for young readers that no matter how challenging their life situation, there is something better out there. In Reyna's situation, her father left Mexico to earn a livi ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jun 27, 2016 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

In this memoir, the author shares her experiences growing up in a small Mexican town where her parents wished to build a house. Since the economy was bad, her father went to the US to work, and her mother soon joined him. She and her siblings were left in the care of their father's mother, who didn't much care for them. Eventually, her mother had another daughter, whom she brought back to be cared for, and her father married another woman. Eventually, he br
A really fascinating -- and at times hard to read -- book about Reyna's journey from being left alone with her siblings in Mexico while her parents sought jobs in El Otro Lado (America) in order to help build a better life. Her story doesn't continue in a straight path though. Instead, there are many missteps, many adults who aren't worthy of trust, and finally, a few who helped Reyna achieve what it was she hoped to achieve.

This one is an emotional read. At times it drags a bit and the pacing i
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, young-adult, memoir
Reyna Grande grew up in Mexico with an abusive grandmother when her parents moved to the US to try to earn more money. Later, her father came and got her and two of her siblings and they moved to LA. He was an alcoholic, also abusive. She struggled because of that - and also because she spoke no English but she was determined to do well in school.
I would be interested to read the original version to see how different it is from the young readers edition.
An excellent addition to a middle school
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, genres
This book was amazing. I think this was the highlight book of the summer. This book was so beautifully written, talking about Reyna's difficulty in feeling loved by her parents while growing up and how she kept feeling abandoned every time someone left her. It was truly heartbreaking. She kept believing, even though she kept on loosing people too. This story talks about family complications and how you might be scared to give anyone any trust. Even people who supposedly are supposed to love you ...more
Christopher Altamirano
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Title: The Distance Between Us Author: Reyna Grande

This book is a memoir by Reyna Grande and her life in Mexico and the United States. Reyna Grande was born on September 7 of 1975 in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico. She is the author of two award winning novels which are "Across a Hundred Mountains",which received and American Book Award and "Dancing with Butterflies" which received an International Latino Book Award.

The theme of this book is that both physical and emotional distances can separate peop
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a really good book. It was hard to read at time and very very real.

It's an immigrant story. It's about a young girl you struggled all the way through life. She struggled in in her hometown of Iguala, Mexico and she struggled when she immigrated over to the United States. It was very interesting to see her list the pros and cons of both places. In Iguala, she suffered from poverty but there she had a home. She could speak the language, she had friends, she wasn't discriminated because o
Cherilyn Munoz
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Immigration will always be a touchy subject yet in this book, there was nothing to negatively portray immigration. This book truly shows how difficult it is to live without your parents and how increasingly difficult it is to move forward when there are added problems of an abusive father and being undocumented.

I love this book because of the way the author wrote this from a first-hand experience. The author could describe instances that made her feel ashamed, mad, and determined. Although peop
Kyara Morales
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
At first, I didn't know how I'd feel about reading The Distance Between Us. What I knew was that this was a book I had to read for an assignment, and I thought that that was all it was going to be. This book became more than just that for me. Though Grande and I lived very different childhoods, I had some experiences that made me connect with her. And that's something that I loved about reading this book. I've read so many books about people whose lives were so different from mine, it was incred ...more
Mrs. Hahn
Author Grande describes how her parents moved to the US, leaving their children in Mexico with a stern grandmother; split up after having another baby; began new relationships; and ended up living different lives in California after Grande's father smuggled them across the border.

This book was eye-opening. Life in Mexico was harsh, her parents' struggles were difficult, and life was lacking both with a neglectful mother and an abusive father. Once in the US, Grande relied on her stepmother occas
Pernia Hassan
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
When her parents make the dangerous and illegal trek across the Mexican border in pursuit of the American dream, Reyna and her siblings are forced to live with their stern grandmother, as they wait for their parents to build the foundation of a new life.

But when things don’t go quite as planned, Reyna finds herself preparing for her own journey to “El Otro Lado” to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years: her long-absent father. Both funny and heartbreaking, The Distance Betw
Stephanie Tournas
Reyna Grande's memoir, originally published in 2012, has been modified for a young audience. It is is the story of the author's impoverished childhood in rural Mexico, and her parents' efforts to provide a better life for their children. Grande and her siblings are shunted between grandmothers as her father, and then her mother, leave them to make the dangerous journey illegally to "El Otro Lado." She describes being the poorest of the poor, enduring hunger, deprivation and then grief as her par ...more
I would have preferred to read the adult's edition of this book, but this is what my library owns, so... It was interesting to see what Reyna Grande wanted young readers to take from her experiences. Certainly that education is crucial to leaving poverty, that we must be resilient to overcome hardship, that even when people aren't there for you, you must keep going... Actually pretty heavy stuff, but the reality that many immigrant children face.

I was most interested in the transition she faced
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A little girl is left in Mexico with her siblings at her grandmother’s home. The parents send money from el Oltro Lado but the grandmother treats the children badly allowing them to be food insecure, full of lice and tapeworms, unbathed and poorly dressed. The mother comes home after she and father break up but leaves for boyfriends. The father comes, sees how badly treated the kids are and brings them to the USA. While Reyna is the only child to follow through on getting a college education, I ...more
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The pacing of the writing and the vivid story telling made this book very easy to read while maintaining an emotionally rich story. I picked it up at a Barnes and Noble a few days ago, read 60 pages, and immediately reserved it at a library to finish it.
The story being told here is one many young Americans can identify with. Reyna struggles with a sense of identity , stuck culturally between two worlds that she is seemingly not "enough" for. I believe that reading this book would go a long way
Eva Zarzar
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Grande takes readers on a journey from Mexico to El Otro Lado, all through a child's eyes. Her depictions of loss and transition are vivid and heartbreaking, and her descriptions of Mexico are honest and endearing. She makes each place and event feel real. After reading the first 100 pages, I went to bed feeling the same ache in my heart that Reyna and her siblings feel in this memoir: feelings of abandonment, unbelonging, and dreams deferred. As someone who has lived comfortably in the same ci ...more
Bonnie Thrasher
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If this is the Young Reader's Edition, I cannot imagine the Adult edition. At times I was so furious with the adults in Reyna Grande's life, I wanted to hit something and throw the book. I just could not understand why her mother of all people could repeatedly abandon her children. As a midwestern white woman, my twisted mind stereotypes the Mexican father as coming to the U.S., working, sending money home, and eventually bringing the family along with him to the U.S. Yet the Grande story is so ...more
We were given this book to read at a Teacher Book Club just before the pandemic struck. We never got to meet to talk about it.

This was a rough book to read. It deals with abuse, generational abuse, neglect, and extreme poverty. It opens with an angry four-year old who becomes an angry six-year old, then a neglected eight-year old, and finally an abused adolescent.

It reminds me of "A Boy called 'It'", a book I didn't want to read but also a book I knew I had to read. There are times when I think
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Distance Between Us portrays a story of a young girl and her siblings who suffered from the poverty and the non-existing presence of both her parents, later then, she finds it hard to accept her new life in America as an immigrant where things and possibly dreams go downhill. Reyna Grande didn't expect her parents to change after so many years of missing them and wanting them to come back to her, but once she finally meets them her expectations don't exactly match up to the ones she had in m ...more
Deena Lipomi
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-books-read
As a child, Reyna, her sister, and her brother lived with their grandparents in Mexico while their own parents traveled illegally to the US in search of jobs and money; when her father finally returned, she had the opportunity to cross the border north with him, and she set out to make a new life with the man she never knew. The young reader's version of this gripping, painful, and hopeful memoir hits on so many points about immigration, poverty, education, family, abuse, and more without being ...more
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Is this a perfect story? No, but it captured the pull between approval from family and your own wants perfectly. This was not an easy read for me. I had to take breaks because it is a raw read. I’ve lived in a border town, so certain parts hit home deeper than others.
I would recommend The Distance Between Us to someone who is interested in this genre, but not the everyday reader.
If this is used in the classroom I would pair with House on Mango Street and the poem Apá. I have not read this with
Aug 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My heart broke while reading this autobiography of the young Latina/Mexican girl living with her family in poor conditions, and a struggling alcoholic father. She went through so many family breakups, but continued to love her Mami and Papi, and her siblings. She never gave up, became an independent woman, and is so grateful to all who helped her in her young life. Her journey with her siblings and father while trying to cross the border to US almost didn't happen. The literary world is blessed ...more
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For me, a good book needs to grab my attention and keep my attention. The Distance Between Us did that for me. Reyna Grande, the author kept me reading, no matter how much I had to do. She tells us about her beginning x amount of years, and how hard they were on her and on her siblings. Knowing that her dad wasn't there for her for as long as 9 years, to knowing how hard she has worked to please her dad, she has still pushed herself to be a better person. Overall, I had an amazing time learning ...more
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This novel is a young readers edition of Reyna Grande’s life story. It talks about how her siblings and her dealt with being passed around between family members as her father then mother left for the United States. Then, when her mom came back she continued to leave them so her siblings and her continue to dream of their father. They eventually head north where they face the challenges of living in the United States.
Ms. B
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, biography-memoir, 2018
4.5 stars. If you liked Jeanette Wallis's The Glass Castle or Tara Westover's Educated, you'll enjoy Reyna's memoir about growing up in Mexico and immigrating to the United States with distant and sometimes absent parents. Is it ever ok for children to be separated from their parents? Or as Reyna asks herself in the later chapters of the books; Is it better to be poor together? Or to try to find a better life, even it means breaking up your family?
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a really good book. It was shocking to see what Reyna and her family had to go through to be what they are now today. There are still other people going through what Reyna had to go through. The ending was amazing even thought it was a bit sad and caused me to cry, I felt super proud of Reyna and her achievements. There were also many parts of the book that had left me speechless but I got through it and understood why. I would recommend others to read this book because it touched me wit ...more
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Reyna Grande is the author of two novels, Across a Hundred Mountains, which received a 2007 American Book Award; Dancing with Butterflies, which received a 2010 International Latino Book Award. In her memoir, The Distance Between Us (Atria, 2012) Reyna recounts her experiences as a child left behind in Mexico when her parents emigrated to the U.S. in search of work, and her own journey to the U.S. ...more

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