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Author Reyna Grande: in Town to Share an American Story

by Laurie Dale Marshall, Adult & Teen Services Librarian
This coming Thursday, October 12, at 7:30 pm, we celebrate the highlight of our One Book One Valley season. A book that has been read, shared, discussed, and reflected upon throughout our community will be celebrated, as we welcome a nationally-renowned author to our mountain hamlet.

Reyna Grande, author of The Distance Between Us, is in Estes Park for a one-night-only presentation. Reyna will help our library pay tribute to a community that values literacy, reading, books, storytelling, and the power of our collective spirit when we gather together in learning and growing.

Thanks to the generosity of the Library’s Friends & Foundation, the Sally Uhlir estate, the Stanley Hotel, and many library lovers, the ticket price to see Reyna is one we like: free. That’s an amazing opportunity for us all to enjoy meeting a top-tier author. Advance tickets are at the Library and at Macdonald Book Shop.

When asked if her memoir is an iconic American story at heart, Reyna offered this insight:

“The American story is a story of triumph against all odds. I was born in a shack made of bamboo sticks and cardboard, on a dirt floor, delivered by a midwife. I was born into extreme poverty. The odds were not in my favor. Yet I have come a long way from my humble beginnings. The beauty of this country is that dreams can come true here. The journey is not all easy. But through hard work and dedication, and yes, also with luck and help from others, one can accomplish one’s dreams. This is what America stands for—the land of opportunity. To some it is a cliché. But I deeply believe in what one can accomplish in this country with a lot of work and plenty of ‘ganas.’”

Readers will recall that Reyna was two years old when her father left for the U.S. to find work. Her mother followed her father north two years later, leaving Reyna and her siblings behind in Mexico. In 1985, when Reyna was nine, she left the poverty of her hometown to make the journey north. She entered the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant. Years and many struggles later, she became the first person in her family to graduate from college.

As a young writer, Reyna’s literary accomplishments have been impressive. She is the author of three critically-acclaimed books. She is the recipient of a 2007 American Book Award. And The Distance Between Us, a memoir at once humorous and heartbreaking, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Thursday’s author event takes place at a special location: the Mountain View Bible Fellowship. We thank the Mountain View Bible Fellowship for making it possible to host this event in their setting to accommodate the large anticipated audience.

Readers may bring in their copies of Reyna’s book to have signed after the talk. Macdonald Book Shop staff will be on hand with a limited number copies of Reyna’s other books available for purchase.

We hope to see you on Thursday to meet the author and celebrate One Book One Valley.