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Students in Santa Maria Joint Union High School’s English 2 Intensive Class for English Learners will receive a literary treat when the author of a memoir they have been reading will speak to their classes on Tuesday, March 22nd.

Author Reyna Grande, who wrote a memoir entitled “The Distance Between Us”, plans to give students a first-hand account of her experience as a young immigrant student from Iguala Guerrero.

Teachers from across the district have shared that their students have been “devouring” the book. Santa Maria High School English teacher, Diane Cabrera said, “My students are greatly enjoying the memoir by Reyna Grande. I've had two reluctant readers volunteer to read aloud and continue to read outside of class--on their own.’’

Maria Larios-Horton, Director of Multilingual and Migrant Education Programs believes that “reluctant readers often find motivation to read when the content of their books reflect their experiences …which is the case with this memoir.’’

Students in Ms. Katherine Toews’ class at Santa Maria High School have said the following:

I would say that our story is kind of related to this because my parents came to the United States first, too.
– Benjamin

I enjoy the book. I can relate to what happened to Reyna Grande. Her parents moved to the United States so that she could have a better life, and my parents did the same for me!
- Jorge

This book is interesting and heartbreaking. I could relate to the book because when I lived in Mexico and my father lived in the U.S. it was hard for me. Also, I was as poor as Reyna.
~ Letty

I think this book is interesting, sad and funny. A lot of Mexicans went through that just like me. I can relate to the book because I went through the fact that my mom had to cross the border two times. Good Mexicans come
here to find hope for the future and beyond into the next generation. This book makes me wonder if politicians are going to make a good choice about immigration.
~ Luis

This book, The Distance Between Us, gives me mixed emotions, because it’s funny but there’s also touching parts where their stories kind of connect. Like the part about the parents, they loved her so much they were willing to
do anything for the ones they love, kind of connects with my family.
~ Nancy

Santa Maria High School
Ethel Pope Auditorium
8:30am - 9:20am

Righetti High School
10:35am -11:25am

Pioneer High School
Room 551
1:05pm – 1:55pm


NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY: The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is committed to ensuring equal, fair, and meaningful access to employment and education services. The SMJUHSD does not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, or educational activity on the basis and/or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics of age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, ethnic group identifications, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital, family or parental status, medical condition, military or veteran status, nationality, national origin, immigration status, political affiliation, pregnancy and related conditions, race, religion, retaliation, sex (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation, or any other basis prohibited by California state and federal nondiscrimination laws respectively. Not all bases of discrimination will apply to both education services and employment. If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, immediately contact the District’s Discrimination, Equity and Title IX Compliance Officer Mr. Kevin R. Platt at 2560 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria, CA 93455, (805) 922-4573 or You may request a copy of SMJUHSD’s Uniform Complaint Procedures, Non-Discrimination Policies, Sexual Harassment Policies or click here.