YAL - Young Adult Literature Presenter Unit 2013/2014



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The Distance Between Us
by Reyna Grande


YAL Presenter Unit 2013/2014

Subjects: English
Grade Level: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Posted: 2014, CCSS, Common Core State Standards
Unit Created by: Cynthia Zucker

What makes this a good YAL choice...

The Distance Between Us is a good YAL book because Reyna Grande poignantly describes her childhood in Mexico, separation from her parents who left her and her siblings in the care of grandparents, and her longing to be united as a family. She finally crosses the border and comes to the Los Angeles, where her educational experiences as an English Language Learner are challenging and family life a struggle. She overcomes many obstacles to go to college and start her life as a writer. Her experiences resonate with many Latino immigrant students and parents in our schools today. — Cynthia Zucker


YAL Conference Workshop Description
Trauma to Transformation in The Distance Between Us
Cynthia Zucker, Presenter

Reyna Grande's personal, harrowing, and ultimately triumphant memoir about her journey from Mexico to the U.S. as an undocumented child immigrant, where she learned that the separation between a parent and a child can be measured as much in emotional distance and abandonment as it can be in miles.

In this workshop, we will explore two areas related to this text: memoir writing and the current struggle for immigrant reform in the U.S. The book can be used in Language Arts or Social Studies classes. We will explore writing workshop and memoir writing techniques and storytelling as a tool for transformation. We will examine applications for the CCSS descriptor for the narrative writing process to "Write narratives and develop real or imagined experiences events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences" to see how it can be put into practice. Finally, we will present resources that teachers may use to develop units of study on immigration as well as resources for building parent involvement. — Workshop Description for YAL 2013


Unit Materials (PDF)