Don’t Be Afraid To Tell Your Story

The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande

One’s personal struggles can be difficult and hard to present about, but that’s exactly what Reyna Grande did. Grande is a Latina author known for her bestselling book, The Distance Between Us. She came to present her most recent published book, which talked about her life as an immigrant, a topic many Oxnard High School students were able to relate to. Her book is about her life, being separated from loved ones, crossing the border, and many other struggles as she learn to adapt to America.

Born in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico, Grande experienced many struggles growing up. She was 2 years old when her father left to the U.S. to find work. Her mother followed her father North two years later, leaving Grande and her siblings behind in Mexico, who were being raised by her grandparents. In 1985, when Grande was only 9 years old, she attempted to cross the border three times before she finally made it into the United States. She later went on to become the first person in her family to graduate from college. She shared her aspirations with others by stating, “Never allow anything to [stop you from reaching] the kind of person you want to become, of who you want to be.”

Grande’s story is why she had come to OHS to present her book, The Distance Between Us. She not only presented about her book, but also gave students an insight into how she went about publishing her story. Grande started writing at the age of 13 in her journal. She felt as if the topic of immigration – her own personal story – is not talked about enough. That is what inspired her to open up about her life’s narrative even though it was painful. “I realized that writing about myself I felt free, I became a different person,” said Grande.   

Although her life has been one of pain and struggle, she is hopeful and left many OHS students inspired to be more open and comfortable with who they are. “I will no longer be ashamed of those things. Lessons helped me succeed in life,” said Grande. Now, we hope more students will be proud of their backgrounds, identities and true selves like Grande.

Currently, Grande teaches creative writing at UCLA Extension and is working on her next novel.