Major works

A House of My Own: Stories from My Life


From the beloved author of The House on Mango Street: a richly illustrated compilation of true stories and nonfiction pieces that, taken together, form a jigsaw autobiography: an intimate album of a literary legend's life and career.

"Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street and Caramelo, has here written what may well be the best memoir of the year thus far. She seamlessly weaves 'memories' from her life from 1984 through 2014 (some written for specific audiences and expanded in this volume). As in her fiction and poetry, Cisneros blends family stories from Chicago and Mexico with lively storytelling, rich details, and good humor. The result is a fierce portrait of an artist and her quest, and the roads taken and not taken to find a home of her own. All readers who are interested in creative writing, memoir, American literature, and Chicana literature will appreciate. Verdict: This memoir deserves to find the broad and wide readership of Cisneros' earlier books." (Library Journal starred review)

"With this collection — spanning nearly three decades, and including never-before-published work — Cisneros has come home at last. Ranging from the private (her parents' loving and tempestuous marriage) to the political (a rallying cry for one woman's liberty in Sarajevo) to the literary (a tribute to Marguerite Duras), and written with her trademark sensitivity and honesty, these poignant, unforgettable pieces give us not only her most transformative memories but also a revelation of her artistic and intellectual influences."

"A charming, tender memoir from an acclaimed Mexican-American author." (Kirkus Reviews)

"An extraordinary and magical journey. Sandra Cisneros makes me so happy that I am a reader, so joyful that she is a writer, and even more exhilarated that she is part of our world. Read this book and laugh, cry, and rejoice!" (Edwidge Danticat)

Have You Seen Marie?


The internationally acclaimed author of The House on Mango Street gives us a deeply moving tale of loss, grief, and healing: a lyrically told, richly illustrated fable for grown-ups about a woman's search for a cat who goes missing in the wake of her mother's death.

The word "orphan" might not seem to apply to a fifty-three-year-old woman. Yet this is exactly how Sandra feels as she finds herself motherless, alone like "a glove left behind at the bus station." What just might save her is her search for someone else gone missing: Marie, the black-and-white cat of her friend, Roz, who ran off the day they arrived from Tacoma. As Sandra and Roz scour the streets of San Antonio, posting flyers and asking everywhere, "Have you seen Marie?" the pursuit of this one small creature takes on unexpected urgency and meaning. With full-color illustrations that bring this transformative quest to vivid life, Have You Seen Marie? showcases a beloved author's storytelling magic, in a tale that reminds us how love, even when it goes astray, does not stay lost forever.

"Best-selling Cisneros chronicles a search for a runaway cat that turns into a way to work through grief and discover community... The deliberately informal, rough-edged illustrations give a nice sense of Cisneros' multicultural, bohemian neighborhood... [T]his warmhearted tale offers comfort to anyone coping with the loss of a loved one." (Kirkus)

Bravo Bruno!


In Rome, on a perfect sunny day, Bruno the poodle feels he must find something. But what? In Italian, for readers age 6 and up.

Vintage Cisneros


Vintage Readers are a perfect introduction to some of the great modern writers presented in attractive, accessible paperback editions.

A winner of the PEN Center West Award for Best Fiction and the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, Sandra Cisneros evokes working-class Latino experience with an irresistible mix of realism and lyrical exuberance

Vintage Cisneros features an excerpt from her bestselling novel The House on Mango Street, which has become a favorite in school classrooms across the country. Also included are a chapter from her new novel, Caramelo; a generous selection of poems from My Wicked Wicked Ways and Loose Woman; and seven stories from her award-winning collection Woman Hollering Creek.

"Sandra Cisneros knows both that the heart can be broken and that it can rise and soar like a bird. Whatever story she chooses to tell, we should be listening for a long time to come." (The Washington Post Book World)

My Name
Our Good Day
Those Who Don't
Darius & the Clouds
The Family of Little Feet
Elenita, Cards, Palm, Water
Four Skinny Trees
No Speak English
A House of My Own
Abuelito Who
My Wicked Wicked Ways
Peaches - Six in a Tin Bowl, Sarajevo
14 de Julio
Salvador Late or Early
Never Marry a Mexican
Eyes of Zapata
Little Miracles, Kept Promises
You Bring Out the Mexican in Me
You Like to Give and Watch Me My Pleasure
Love Poem for a Non-Believer
I Am So Depressed I Feel Like Jumping in the River Behind My House But Won't Because I'm Thirty-Eight and Not Eighteen
Night Madness Poem
I Am on My Way to Oklahoma to Bury the Man I Nearly Left My Husband for
Tu Que Sabes de Amor
Mexicans in France
Loose Woman
Verde, Blanco, y Colorado
Mexico Next Right
So Here My History Begins for Your Good Understanding and My Poor Telling
Spic Spanish?
All Parts from Mexico, Assembled in the U.S.A. or I Am Born
The Vogue
Someday My Prince Popocatepetl Will Come



The celebrated author of The House on Mango Street gives us an extraordinary new novel, told in language of blazing originality: a multigenerational story of a Mexican-American family whose voices create a dazzling weave of humor, passion, and poignancy -- the very stuff of life.

Every year, Ceyala "Lala" Reyes' family -- aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, and Lala's six older brothers--packs up three cars and, in a wild ride, drive from Chicago to the Little Grandfather and Awful Grandmother's house in Mexico City for the summer. Struggling to find a voice above the boom of her brothers and to understand her place on this side of the border and that, Lala is a shrewd observer of family life. But when she starts telling the Awful Grandmother's life story, seeking clues to how she got to be so awful, grandmother accuses Lala of exaggerating. Soon, a multigenerational family narrative turns into a whirlwind exploration of storytelling, lies, and life. Like the cherished rebozo, or shawl, that has been passed down through generations of Reyes women, Caramelo is alive with the vibrations of history, family, and love.

Caramelo is a romantic tale of homelands, sometimes real, sometimes imagined. Vivid, funny, intimate, historical, it is a brilliant work destined to become a classic: a major novel from one of our country's most beloved storytellers.

"All the energy of a riotous family fiesta... Cisneros is undeniably at her peak." (The Washington Post)

"A glorious book, Caramelo is crowded with the souvenirs and memories of the dramas of everyday life?like an oversized family album, intimate as well as universal." (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

"A joyful, fizzy American novel... Soulful, sophisticated and skeptical, full of great one-liners, it is one of those novels that blithely leap across the border between literary and popular fiction." (New York Times Book Review)

"Like Eduardo Galeano, John Dos Passos and John Steinbeck, Cisneros writes along the borders where the novel and social history intersect. In this lovingly told and poetic novel, she uses the storytelling art to give the voiceless ones a voice, and to find the border to the past, imbuing the struggles of her family and her countries with the richness of myth." (Los Angeles Times)

"A wonderful book ... evoking life?s absurdity and possibility, tragedy and transcendence... Combines the thematic richness of the most ambitious literature with the delight in character and plot of the most engrossing page-turner." (Chicago Sun-Times)

"Cisneros is a writer for all people. This is a novel of families, home life and finding yourself in the world?s greater landscape." (USA Today)

"A sprawling, exuberant hopscotch through a century of family history... Cisneros seduces us with her knitted tales, great and small, and her message is all the more powerful for its shimmering clarity." (Time Out New York)

"Cisneros has a great eye for detail, a good ear for dialogue and a marvelous sense of humor... Caramelo is a tour de force?rich in its use of language, breathtaking in scope." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

"Lovingly, passionately woven from dust and glory... A sweeping family history that somehow manages to interlace not just the Reyeses -- those conjurers, enticers and troublemakers -- but also all the rest of us, the good and bad together, the bitter and, of course, the sweet." (Miami Herald)

"Sprawling, spirited... Vibrant and big-hearted." (Elle)

"Cisneros?s exuberant prose tickles the senses... A warm and generous story to wrap yourself up in." (St. Petersburg Times)

"A sweet gift from the universe, a reminder of the ancient, deep, noble, and sad sources of the human heart... sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes transcendent." (San Antonio Express)

"Cisneros is a virtuoso... [Caramelo] is rich in character and action, people and passions." (Houston Chronicle)

"Remarkable... Caramelo is a book to read slowly and savor and if you can find a listener, to read out loud." (Santa Fe New Mexican)

"Cisneros is such an imaginative storyteller... Caramelo engages in a kind of playfulness that is utterly bewitching." (Entertainment Weekly)

"Spellbinding... A richly satisfying novel." (People)

"There should be a brand-new language to describe the ways in which [Cisneros] has imbued the ancient art of story-telling with her trademark organization, characterization, evocation of time and place, portrayal of a particular culture, and visionary wisdom...You must read this book for yourself, two or three times." (The Women?s Review of Books)

"Cisneros is a wonderful cultural translator, writing English dialogue so saturated with Mexican-Spanish idioms and constructions that you feel like you?ve been magically empowered to eavesdrop in another language." (The Oregonian)

Hairs / Pelitos


This jewel-like vignette from Sandra Cisneros's best-selling The House on Mango Street shows, through simple, intimate portraits, the diversity among us.

"Everybody in our family has different hair"/ "Todos en nuestra familia tenemos pelo diferente," begins this rhythmic, bilingual picture book taken from acclaimed novelist/short-story writer Cisneros's The House on Mango Street. Ybanez expands upon the diversity theme by rendering the family members in a variety of unusual skin tones as well as with distinctive hairstyles. Purple-faced Papa has hair "like a broom,/ all up in the air," while Nettie's "slippery" orange hair contrasts vividly with her blue skin. The narrator waxes lyrical on the subject of Mama's hair: "sweet to put your nose into when she is holding you, holding you and you feel safe, [it] is the warm smell of bread before you bake it." Each spread is framed by bright borders ornamented with everyday objects-shoes and bikes; steaming cups of coffee; dice, jacks and jumpropes. Inside, the characters seem to float across swirling blocks of color. A spirited and buoyant celebration of individuality and of the bonds within families. Ages 4-8. (Publisher Weekly)

Loose Woman


A candid, sexy and wonderfully mood-strewn collection of poetry that celebrates the female aspects of love, from the reflective to the overtly erotic. "Poignant, sexy... lyrical, passionate... cool and delicate... hot as a chili pepper." (Boston Globe)

"You bring out the Mexican in me./The hunkered thick dark spiral./The core of a heart howl./The bitter bile./The tequila lagrimas on Saturday all/through next weekend Sunday." In this typically direct, sensual, and bitingly colloquial poem, Cisneros is addressing a lover, but she might as well be addressing the act of writing itself, which clearly brings out the best in her, along with the passion she associates with her Mexican roots. As in Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories, one of Library Journal's Best Books of 1991, Cisneros deftly explores the consequences of being Hispanic and a woman-in particular, being the tough, independent free-spirited "loose woman" of her title. The poems that result are brilliant and shimmering and sharp-tongued and just occasionally a little too similar. Highly recommended where good poetry is read and essential for all Hispanic collections. (Library Journal)

Little Clown, My Heart
You Bring Out the Mexican in Me
Original Sin
Old Maids
I Let Him Take Me
Extreme Unction
A Few Items to Consider
I Am So in Love I Grow a New Hymen
Your Name Is Mine
Something Like Rivers Ran
You My Saltwater Pearl
You Like to Give and Watch Me My Pleasure
Christ You Delight Me
En Route to My Lover I Am Detained by Too Many Cities and Human Frailty
You Called Me Corazon
Love Poem for a Non-Believer
The Heart Rounds Up the Usual Suspects
Waiting for a Lover
Well, If You Insist
Pumpkin Eater
I Am So Depressed I Feel Like Jumping in the River Behind My House but Won't Because I'm Thirty-Eight and Not Eighteen
Bay Poem from Berkeley
After Everything
I Want to Be a Father Like the Men
El Alacran Guero
Thing in My Shoe
Night Madness Poem
I Don't Like Being in Love
Amorcito Corazon
A Little Grief Like Gouache
Full Moon and You're Not Here
My Friend Turns Beautiful Before My Eyes
Unos Cuantos Piquetitos
With Lorenzo at the Center of the Universe, el Zocalo, Mexico City
I Awake in the Middle of the Night and Wonder If You've Been Taken
Small Madness
Heart, My Lovely Hobo
I Am on My Way to Oklahoma to Bury the Man I Nearly Left My Husband For
Tu Que Sabes de Amor
Once Again I Prove the Theory of Relativity
Fan of a Floating Woman
That Beautiful Boy Who Lives Across from the Handy Andy
Black Lace Bra Kind of Woman
Down There
Los Desnudos: A Triptych
Mexicans in France
My Nemesis Arrives After a Long Hiatus
A Man in My Bed Like Cracker Crumbs
Bienvenido Poem for Sophie
Arturito the Amazing Baby Olmec Who Is Mine by Way of Water
Jumping off Roofs
Why I Didn't
Las Girlfriends
Champagne Poem for La Josie
Still Life with Potatoes, Pearls, Raw Meat, Rhinestones, Lard, and Horse Hooves
Vino Tinto
Loose Woman

Woman Hollering Creek


A collection of stories whose characters give voice to the vibrant and varied life on both sides of the Mexican border. The women in these stories offer tales of pure discovery, filled with moments of infinite and intimate wisdom.

A little girl revealing secrets as only a child can; a witch flies at dawn over a small town -- these are just two of the scenarios presented by Cisneros in this collection of short stories. A writer of vivid imagination, with a very acute sense of mysticism and a witty poetic style, Cisneros not only entertains but leaves a lasting impression. A key work from a major Hispanic American writer; recommended for public libraries. (Library Journal)

In this collection of Mexican-American stories, Cisneros addresses the reader in a voice that is alternately buoyant, strong, funny, and sad. The brief vignettes of the opening piece, "My Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn," are tiles in a mosaic. Taken together, these vignettes give a vivid, colorful picture of life on the Texas/Mexico border. Family ties are strong: aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents are all present. The stories are often about the romantic dreams of young girls longing to escape stifling small-town life who discover that things are not much different on the other side of the border. Cisneros has an acute eye for the telling detail that reveals the secrets and the dreams of her characters. She writes with humor and love about people she knows intimately. (Library Journal)

Ranging from prose lyrics of less than a page to much lengthier (but still lyrical) fictions, these stories are eloquent testimonials to the status of Mexican-American women. Cisneros introduces a cast of Chicanas from the environs of San Antonio, Tex., letting us eavesdrop on a series of interior monologues as well crafted as they are expressive. She begins with the self-conscious yet spontaneous effusions of young girls ("You laughing something into my ear that tickles, and me going Ha Ha Ha Ha"), then turns to preadolescents and young women; her speakers evince a shared, uneasy awareness that their self-worth depends on a loyalty to Mexico strained, all the same, by the realities of their lives up North. The restless vamp of "Never Marry a Mexican" feels "ridiculous" as "a Mexican girl who couldn't even speak Spanish," and cultivates a contempt for her white lover ("nude as a pearl. You've lost your train of smoke") and his wife ("alive under the flannel and down, and smelling like milk and hand cream") -- but she is not sure just what she is envying. In this sensitively structured suite of sketches, however, Cisneros's irony defers to her powers of observation, so that feminism and cultural imperialism, while important issues here, do not overwhelm the narrative.

My Wicked Wicked Ways


Hailed as "not only a gifted writer, but an absolutely essential one" (The New York Times Book Review), Sandra Cisneros has firmly established herself as an author of electrifying talent. Here are verses, comic and sad, radiantly pure and plainspoken, that reveal why her stories have been praised for their precision and musicality of language.

This collection reveals the same affinity for distilled phrasing and surprise, both in language and dramatic development, found in Cisneros's volumes of short stories, Woman Hollering Creek and The House on Mango Street. -- Publisher Weekly

Sir James South Side
South Sangamon
Abuelito Who
Arturo Burro
Mexican Hat Dance
Good Hotdogs
Muddy Kid Comes Home
I Told Susan Reyna
Twister Hits Houston
My Wicked Wicked Ways
Six Brothers
Josie Bliss
I the Woman
Something Crazy
In a redneck bar down the street
Love Poem #1
The blue dress
The Poet Reflects on Her Solitary Fate
His Story
Letter to Ilona from the South of France
Ladies, South of France - Vence
December 24th, Paris - Notre-Dame
Beautiful Man - France
Postcard to the Lace Man - The Old Market, Antibes
Letter to Jahn Franco - Venice
To Cesare, Goodbye
Trieste - Ciao to Italy
Peaches - Six in a Tin Bowl, Sarajevo
Hydra Night - House on Fire
Hydra Coming Down in Rain
Fishing Calamari by Moon
Moon in Hydra
One Last Poem for Richard
For a Southern Man
A woman cutting celery
Sensuality Plunging Barefoot Into Thorns
I understand it as a kiss
For All Tuesday Travelers
No Mercy
The world without Rodrigo
Rodrigo Returns to the Land and Linen Celebrates
Rodrigo de Barro
Rodrigo in the Dark
The So-and-So's
Monsieur Mon Ami
By Way of Explanation
Ame, Amo, Amare
Men Asleep
New Year's Eve
14 de julio
Tantas Cosas Asustan, Tantas

The House on Mango Street


Told in a series of vignettes stunning for their eloquence, The House on Mango Street is Sandra Cisneros's greatly admired novel of a young girl growing up in the Latino section of Chicago. Acclaimed by critics, beloved by children, their parents and grandparents, taught everywhere from inner-city grade schools to universities across the country, and translated all over the world, it has entered the canon of coming-of-age classics.

Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous, The House on Mango Street tells the story of Esperanza Cordero, whose neighborhood is one of harsh realities and harsh beauty. Esperanza doesn't want to belong -- not to her rundown neighborhood, and not to the low expectations the world has for her. Esperanza's story is that of a young girl coming into her power, and inventing for herself what she will become.

"A classic. . . . This little book has made a great space for itself on the shelf of American literature." (Julia Alvarez)

"Afortunado! Lucky! Lucky the generation who grew up with Esperanza and The House on Mango Street. And lucky future readers. This funny, beautiful book will always be with us." (Maxine Hong Kingston)

"Cisneros draws on her rich [Latino] heritage... nd seduces with precise, spare prose, creat[ing] unforgettable characters we want to lift off the page. She is not only a gifted writer, but an absolutely essential one." (Bebe Moore Campbell, The New York Times Book Review)

"Marvelous... spare yet luminous. The subtle power of Cisneros's storytelling is evident. She communicates all the rapture and rage of growing up in a modern world." (San Francisco Cronicle)

"A deeply moving novel... delightful and poignant.... Like the best of poetry, it opens the windows of the heart without a wasted word." (Miami Herald)

"Sandra Cisneros is one of the most brillant of today's young writers. Her work is sensitive, alert, nuanceful... rich with music and picture." (Gwendolyn Books)

Bad Boys


"Sandra Cisneros' 1980 chapbook Bad Boys (Mango Chicano Chapbook Series #8), for many readers, was their introduction to the great writer. Mango Publications was also in its infancy, being founded by Lorna Dee Cervantes, either one or two years before, publishing their first chapbook Speedway by Orlando Ramirez in 1979.

"Bad Boys is small, even for chapbooks, containing seven poems. Cisneros was no newcomer though. She had been published in many journals before the publication of Bad Boys, which in some ways became her forgotten child." -- Octavio Romano Pluma Fronteriza blog

All contents of this website are copyright © 2015 Sandra Cisneros, unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.