Award-winning author inspires audience with personal immigration experiences

Shiri Marwaha, Staff Reporter

Visiting speaker Reyna Grande, award-winning author of books like “The Distance Between Us” and “A Dream Called Home,” inspired a jam-packed room of De Anza College students with her stories about her challenging journey through life at the Hinson Center Jan. 29.

She answered the questions put out by a panel of students with her honest humor.

Students were eager to meet the author as her fight and struggle as an immigrant of color related with most of them. “Having read her book in class, I wanted to meet and see what she had to say,” said Jennifer Carmona, 19, a nursing major.

Lisa Calvillo, 19, political science major shared the same view and said she is an inspiring role model for people of color.

Grande held the audience’s attention with her sense of humor and genuine honesty during her speech, while answering questions from the audience as well as a panel of students’ discussion which continued for over an hour.

She says she began writing from the age of thirteen as it was her escape from the tumultuous experiences of her young life. Jennifer Najera, 18, undecided said the book inspired her very much and wanted to meet the author herself to learn more about her.

Grande, who writes in English, said she is often asked why her writings are not in Spanish to which she says not being able to write in Spanish is an unfortunate causality to the process of assimilating into a country where she felt the pressure to focus on English and unwittingly didn’t develop enough Spanish vocabulary to express herself adequately.

“I feel lost for the right word in Spanish.”