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Menlo Park, CA
Hello Sandra Cisneros,
I'm Camellia and I go to Menlo Atherton High School. For my English class, we were each assigned an author/poet to study for this unit and I was assigned to you! I really admire your work, especially your book The House on Mango Street and I think you do a very good job with getting the reader in the moment. What does your writing process look like? For me, it is difficult to start writing and start putting things together in a certain way that makes sense and adds perspective. Also, as I was reading some of your excerpts in The House On Mango Street, I noticed family was a repeating 'theme' and was brought up in your writing several times. Was there something special or different about your family that might have inspired you to write about it? Anyways, thank you for your beautiful and talented work and I hope ill be seeing more from you soon!
Dear Camellia, It’s difficult to sum up my writing process, but I do an awful lot of of sleeping and acting lazy, but actually I am dreaming and thinking. When I actually am at my laptop or working on paper, I try not to go outdoors. Staying home works best for me and writing. Thanks for writing to me! S
I am a middle school Language Arts teacher. My students and I have just completed reading and discussing your novel; A House on Mango Street. As an educator I thrive on exposing my students to various cultures. Your novel not only exposed them to an unfamiliar culture but it afforded them the opportunity to get to know themselves. The discussions derived from the topics presented in the novel became a reason for my students to attend class everyday for the duration of this novel. I am eternally grateful for your work and insight. My students are better young adults due to the realization that they are continuously seeking their true identity. They have become insightful and empathetic to others. My students are more conscientious when making day-to-day decisions. All this is due to the conversations we have had pertaining to our female character; Esperanza and her journey to finding herself.
Dear Erika Leon,
What a wonderful thing a book is. I believe in the power of reading, and obviously, so do you. Thank you for taking my stories to those who need them. You sound like a great teacher. For the record, I will be in North Carolina in Raleigh mid-Feb for their book fair. Keep an eye on my web calendar. Thanks again for your letter. S
Erin, Bethany, Alex, and Daniel
San Francisco, CA
Dear Ms. Cisneros,
Your novel The House on Mango Street was our 7th grade book club focus for Ms.Booth’s ELA class at San Francisco’s A.P. Giannini Middle School. Our favorite thing about your book was how it created beautiful visuals. It helps us see how the neighborhood was put through a lense that gives a nostalgic aura. Your descriptive words gave us a visual of how it feels to be in the neighborhood the house on mango street is in. Another feature that we loved is how every chapter adds a new character that builds on the theme. Especially the concept of Sally, we love her because of the way she’s introduced to the story and the meaning behind her. Let us know when you plan to visit our city.
Erin, Bethany, Alex, and Daniel
Dear All, I love San Francisco, but as I live in Mexico, it makes it a little harder to come north. When I do, I will try my best to come your way. Many thanks, SC
It's midnight over here. I just finished The House on Mango Street. I am looking forward to reading more of your work. Inspirational indeed. I am looking forward to writing more of my own. I was born in 1954 too. Truth be told its one of the other reasons I decided to read your book. I just retired from 30 years of teaching Jr. High English. Yours was one of those books I always wanted to read been never seem to have time to. Very glad I found the time. Hope to meet you some day.
Dear Joe Lugo, I’m glad to hear my book found you at this time when you are writing. What better project now that you are retired. Good luck on your writer’s path! S
Phenix City, AL
I am reading “The House on Mango Street” to assist the English students at Columbus Technical College in Columbus, GA. with their literary analysis assignments. I was completely amazed at your creativity in describing South Side Chicago, where I am from also, although I was born in Montgomery, Alabama and neighbors with Rosa Parks. I was additionally interested to learn the similarities between the Latino and African American communities in Chicago. The chapter on the jump rope songs brought back some happy memories. Although, I believe we are from different generations, those songs and games have withstood the test of time. The House on Mango Street poignantly captivates its readers of all generations.
P. S. My family is having a family reunion in San Antonio July, 2019. It would be great to meet you or attend an event during that time.
Thanks for all your high praise. I no longer live in San Antonio, but i will be there end of July doing a public reading on behalf of Macondo, the writer’s workshop I founded. Keep an eye on my web calendar for more details as the date nears. Gracias mil. S
Just came back from Miami Book Fair after your presentation with Jorge Ramos. I want to tell you that you are such an inspiration even to people like me, not a writer, but my daughter loves Literature, doing her Master's now. Congratulations and was a pleasure listen to you as well as reading your books. Muchas gracias por su labor como mujer profesional luchadora y muy valiente, definitivamente un ejemplo a seguir.♥️
Gracias. I had such a good time and am glad to hear you did too! Thanks for saying so. SC
Rio Grande School, New Mexico:
Lilah, Sasha, Chicken Wirth, Kinman Hickey, Anna Alice, Tyler L, Luke Rand, Ella Browne
We read some parts of your book, The House on Mango Street. IT WAS AWESOME! I love all of the similes and metaphors and imagery! It has been great inspiration for the book that I’m writing in NaNoWriMo. My book would be so BORING if I hadn’t read your short stories. I know that you’re very busy, but it would be really great if you could come to Rio Grande School! Of course, we would completely understand if you can’t. But we would all like to meet you!
Dear Students of Rio Grande School,
Thanks for all your enthusiastic letters and high praise. If I ever come to Santa Fe during the school year, I know I am welcome. But remember, I live in old Mexico, which is rather far away. But, you never know!
I wanted to reach out just to tell you one thing:
I have wanted to be a writer and actor since I can remember. I've always been too afraid to truly pursue it, but recently, after quitting for maybe the 20th time, I decided to go after it and do what I really love (again). I've never read any of your work before. Walking around Strand bookstore in Manhattan, "The House on Mango Street" caught my eye. Reading the introduction, you wrote ALONE has honestly changed my perspective and given me the voice in my own head I needed to keep going. Listening to your voice, so sweet and honest and open, is incredibly touching and makes my heart warm. I have realized it is enough that I want to be a writer because I love to write and touch other people's hearts as you did mine.
I truly enjoy your writing style. This book is so precious and quaint. I love the little stories and even more so love hearing about how you came up with them. The way you see the world and the people in it, the way you express your life, family and growing up, it is so personal and inspiring.
Thank you for writing and sharing! I am so appreciative and cannot wait to read more.
Thank you, Del Marie. Letters like yours keep me going! - SC
McKinleyville / Ca
I just wanted to say thank you for The House On Mango Street. I found it, quite accidentally, in a Barnes and Noble while traveling. If you would allow me to share my impression, it reminded me a bit of 100 Years of Solitude as if told by even more of a day to day commoner. Simply brilliant.
Thanks, John. Always lovely to be compared to writers I admire!-SC
"When you have your heart broken wide, you are also open to things of beauty as well as things of sadness. Once people are not here physically, the spiritual remains, we still connect, we can communicate, we can give and receive love and forgiveness. There is love after someone dies."
-- Sandra Cisneros
Ever grateful for being present at the NC State author event on Aug. 2. The epilogue spoke volumes. Thank You
Hi, Kathleen, I remember you, and I thank you deeply for writing. I hope you are creating during this sacred time in your life! abrazos, S
Hola Ms. Cisneros!
I recently finished my senior capstone project at Saint Xavier University where I researched the Chicano movement in the Pilsen area, with a focus on education reform being led by immigrant parents. I read a few interviews that you gave about the City of Chicago, and I had been thinking about your works for a while, so I decided to write to you. I was first introduced to your works when my mom gave me her copy of Caramelo to read in middle school and I absolutely fell in love with your words and the family that exists between the pages of your book. I wish I could show you how worn and torn our copy is, from all the times I've needed comfort and found it in Lala's arms. Caramelo is one of my absolute favorite books I've ever read; I plan on getting a tattoo of a "Maria" doll balancing on top of a pile of my favorite books, yours included (if you don't mind). I am graduating in May with a teaching license, and I cannot wait to share Caramelo with my future students, as I plan on teaching in Latino neighborhoods and I know that they will greatly benefit from having read your words.
I wanted to thank you for writing such an impactful book, and for your dedicated advocacy. Your hard work and beautiful words are appreciated, as is your presence in the world.
I apologize for the long letter because I also have a question: a while ago, I saw on your website that someone had asked where you find Latinx writers and you recommended a literary magazine. At the time, I looked up the magazine and told myself (and my mom) that I was going to buy the newest volume when I had money for it. I recently remembered, but I no longer have the name of the magazine. If you do still remember that exchange, do you remember the name of the magazine? (I would love to know, but I realize that you have many people asking for your attention, so I will keep searching!)
Please never stop writing and sharing your words with the world!
Hi, Jazmin, The magazine is called HUIZACHE from the University of Houston — Victoria, but there are other magazines I like too, including ASTERIX, which writer Angie Cruz edits in Pittsburgh. Thanks for your effusive letter!
I just read your article in the AARP magazine about your heritage. I love your ideas about describing ourselves, and it reminded me of the assignment I gave my 11th and 12th grade English students on the first day of school. I live in Southern Arizona. I would read the chapter from "A House on Mango Street" called "My Name." I learned to speak Spanish in my high school in the Chicago suburbs, so when I read aloud it was easy for me to imitate the teacher's voice! I would ask if someone in the class who spoke Spanish would be willing to say Esperanza's name the way it was meant to be spoken-"Like a whisper." It was usually a quiet 17 or 18 year-old boy who would volunteer to say the name. I followed up by having the students hand-write a one-page essay about his or her name in class. I used a University of Chicago Essay prompt about names. It was one of my favorite lessons every year! I learned so much from my students when they wrote about their names. We live near a military post and about an hour from the border, so my students came from diverse cultures and backgrounds.
Hi, Kristy Speer,
What a lovely way to use my work in the classroom. Thank you for taking these stories out there to those who need to hear them, and thank you for writing about how you did so. Especially loved having your students saying the name in English and then in Spanish.
The House on Mango Street is one of my most favorite books of all time. Unforgettable! Thank you!
Thanks, Christine, for the shout out! Always good to hear!-SC
Hola Sandra, thank you for giving Latinas a voice. I founded Latina Professionals of Chattanooga and it has been great success. We are a professional development group dedicated in progressing Latinas to leadership roles here in the South of the U.S. For Hispanic Heritage Month we want to do something big. Unfortunately the organization around us that say they support Latinos don't do anything for September-October months. I want to change that now that I have a platform where I can express this and educate. I'm in the planning stages but I'm looking to host a celebration in 9/19/18 in Chattanooga. We will highlight music, foods, arts and have a Q&A panel "who are Latinos". I know this is a long shot to ask you to be part of this but I'm asking. I hope you can reply. Thank you Jocelyn.
My calendar for 2018 is already booked, but thank you for thinking of me. Think about asking someone who might live closer to you. Remember, I live in Mexico and that makes it more difficult for me to accept invitations on short notice. S
Torrance, CA, USA
I love your work. It's funny how I can relate to being raised in the Latino culture while living in an area that was not primarily Latino. My only regret is not learning enough of the Spanish language. My grandma (my favorite person in the whole world) did not want us to learn the language. She still had memories of the Zoot Riots in LA. I can't ever blame her! However, I will say my daughter is most fluent! So I'm proud for that!
It’s never too late to learn, Dave. Learning any language helps us connect to others, and I recommend you learn any other language from your ancestors. It will teach you more about yourself. Thanks for writing. SC
What made you choose the title you did, for The House on Mango Street?
I chose it because it sounded like the name of the real street I grew up on, but had nothing to do with the real name. The real name was Campbell Street. Take a look at my book A HOUSE OF MY OWN to see a photo of this house. Thanks for asking. SC
I’ve never written a fan letter before and am working on a project of trying to write a fan letter a week. I chose to make you my first object of fandom because you were one of my first favorite writers back when I originally read “Eleven” as part of an in-class essay test in high school--and, more than 20 years later, you remain one of my favorites. The fact that reading it in that setting didn’t ruin the story for me is in itself a testament to its excellence. In fact, I continue to think it is one of the most perfect stories I’ve ever read, and have even used it as an illustration of sort of my experience of self in an essay and and in discussing emotional experience with my 8-year-old daughter. I just reread A House on Mango Street and it is every bit as wonderful as when I first read it 20 years ago. I have been put off from writing fan letters before because I feel I should have something insightful to say to people whom I so admire; I am trying to not let that fact stop me from saying this: thank you for your amazing work.
You never get tired of hearing thank you. I am lucky to receive letters like yours, and I hope all my readers will revisit my books as often as you have. A thousand and one thanks, S
Monroiva, CA USA
I love your stories, they bring me home and take me away.
Gracias, Lupe. Always good to know I’m doing my job!
Forest Hills Queens, New York
Will Sandra be visiting New York anytime soon and will she be reading or on at a book Signing event. Would love to hear her read and also would love to bring my daughter to share the experience.
I don’t know of any New York readings, but I do know I will be at the Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark, which is next door. My visit is in October. Visit their calendar for details. Thanks.
I'm a high school special ed. teacher. My students wouldn't be considered the cream of the crop, but they are to me. Many come from difficult backgrounds which could lead to a bleak future. Every day my students and I try to change that. Your stories seem to connect with and inspire them. Maybe it's because they identify with some of the commonalities in your stories or maybe it has to do with you keeping it real for them. I don't know, but I thank you for keeping them inspired.
And I thank you Dave Nicholson for believing you can make change. You must be a very special teacher. Just know I wrote HOUSE ON MANGO STREET when I was a teacher with students like yours who inspired me to include their lives in my manuscript. Keep doing the work you are doing, and thank you for sharing your story. Your students are lucky to have you.
I hope you are doing well. My name is Mugoli, I am 21 years-old and just moved out of my house, unmarried, to a new city where I do not know anyone. Today I decided to buy The House on Mango Street and spent a long amount of time crying about "A House of My Own". What a powerful piece, especially because I feel it describes my life right now in so many ways. I was especially touched by the way the story of finding your own house was intertwined with the story of your mother. I am not latinx, but I know many women of colour live their lives, without realizing it, with, through, and in some weird way, for their mothers.
I was journaling today and thought I should share this with you:
My good friend is twenty-two and getting married in the fall.
An older Bajan woman takes my measurements.
'What is it that you're reading?'
She writes The House on Mango Street on a post-it and stuffs it where only daughters are supposed to see.
"I like the way it sounds. The House on Mango Street. What a pretty name."
God is mad at me today but I cry some more.
Cisneros wrote that "people who are busy working for a living deserve beautiful little stories, because they don't have much time and are often tired".
Even if the story is only three words.
All the best,
Your letter brings me such joy. I am often overwhelmed by what my writing cannot do, especially now, that I forget what it does and has done. Thank you for your letter, your journal notes, your spirit. You are a gift to me today. Strength, courage, light to you on your sacred journey. Adelante, forward!
Asheville, North Carolina
Hi Ms. Cisneros! I used to teach your poem "Eleven" to my third graders, and I absolutely fell in love with it. It has come back to me many times since I left the classroom, and every time, it brings a smile to my face and reminds me that it's okay to not "act my age" all the time. I have two questions:
1. Is this poem part of a book in print that I can purchase?
2. Is this poem available to purchase in display form? Something like this (https://i.etsystatic.com/8884065/r/il/2d31d0/1430186249/il_570xN.1430186249_526r.jpg) but obviously designed for your poem. I would love to have this poem available as something I can hang on a wall in my house.
Thank you for your time. My mom always raved about The House on Mango Street when I was growing up, and reading an excerpt from it in my first women's studies class had such a big impact on me. I appreciate your work.
Yes, the story is available in my book WOMAN HOLLERING CREEK, as well as in audio, where I perform it. I will be in North Carolina early August.
Thanks for asking.
New York, New York
Dear Sandra Cisneros,
I just wanted to say me being a huge fan as well as my entire class, have read all of your vignettes in your book The Mango Street. We were so inspired that we even made our own vignettes following your example and using your style of writing (figurative language). We made our vignettes in order to show a deeper meaning as you did as well. I just wanted to say that as I was writing my vignettes I kept thinking back to yours and it was hard at first because I couldn’t understand what you were trying to portray which made me want to observe the world around me in order for me to be able to relate. I then saw that your writing was not only meant to be relatable to but to teach us something along the way. As though we were learning alongside Esperanza. I wanted to say thank you for introducing me to a new style of writing and a new genre. I think that when I got more into Vignettes I started seeing a different side to the world than just saying things as it is. The words you used in all of your chapters were so descriptive you can’t even describe it but besides helping me visualize the events that occurred in your book it always made me feel a certain way and that’s what I want to do with my writing. So once again THANK YOU very much & I hope you reach out to me soon.
Your letter uplifts me today. Mil gracias for your high praise. This is what we all aspire to when we write.
I have just finished The House on Mango Street and I appreciate so much you writing it. Sharing a bit of your soul. Qué lindo era. Me hizo llorar al final.
Dear Joseph Wilson,
If my book made you cry, then it did its work. Thank you for your confirmation today as I head to my desk and my own writing.
I have adored your writing style since college, back when I was planning a future in film. Life happened and I became an educator instead. When I was still in the classroom, my students and I read your works each school year. It was an alternative high school, full of students that had given up on education long ago. I was determined to help them see the awesomeness of reading and writing using books such as yours as mentors.
As you can imagine, I consistently had students that did not understand why writers write, nor why readers read. Would you be willing to answer that question? In your youth, what motivated you to read? And what motivated you to write?
Thank you and happy writing,
What great questions! I write because I’m lonely, because I feel useless to make change in the world, because I’m depressed, because I’m angry, because if I don’t I will hurt someone, because if I don’t I will hurt myself. I write because I am going crazy and it’s the only medicine I know that will make me better. I write because it’s my way of making sense of myself. Because this is the route I know to the truth. Because the truth will help me be more compassionate and forgiving, especially to myself.
I don’t know why others read, but I read because of all of the above.
Does this help?
Good luck on the great work you do.
I am the mother of two extraordinary daughters and the daughter of an even more extraordinary mother. I am a middle school language arts teacher in New Jersey whose main teaching objective is to foster a love of reading in each of my students.
My oldest daughter, Payton, just completed her first year of high school. She is staying for a few days with her grandmother, my mother. She texted me at work this morning to announce that she has been assigned The House on Mango Street as her summer reading selection. "We better get it from library quickly before another Sophmore checks it out," she warned. So I drove there after work today to find fourteen copies of it in our local library. I chose a hardcover version and brought it home along with a whole grocery bag of books for my seventh grader, Casey.
I just snuggled to read some before Payton returns from her grandmother's. Already, I am struck by so much - just from reading the intro. "It's true, she wants the writers she admires to respect her work, but she always wants the people who don't usually read books to enjoy these stories too. She doesn't want to write a book that a reader won't understand and would feel ashamed for not understanding." This! This is what I desire for my students - to read a book that "serves others", mainly the reader!
I am also surprised and saddened that while I thought the intro was about you, or maybe your father, it was really about your mother, another extraordinary woman who encouraged you to have no regrets and died after visiting your office. I am so sorry about that, as I dread that very day myself. What a beautiful gift to dedicate The House on Mango Street to her.
Never have I been inspired to write an author before reading a word of the actual book. Now I dive in.
Thank you for serving your readers.
What a lovely story. Thank you for sharing this. For the record, I will be in New Jersey this October for the Dodge Poetry Festival. Pass the word to your family and students. I hope to shake your hand one day.
vallejo california usa
hi ms sisneros for english i have too write my own vignette about how one of yours can relate to my life and i need pointers good thing were are both chicanos thank you
First, write as if you are talking to your closet confidante in your pajamas. Then go back and edit it. Remember to use capitals and periods, otherwise your prose looks like an e.e.cummings poem, which is not a bad thing if you are e.e.cumming, but looks like your are an imitator. Why be an imitation, when YOU are the real thing. Adelante.
Los Fresnos, TX
I was talking with a friend recently and described how first reading Woman Hollering Creek in college had changed my perspective on writing and literature. Growing up in a border area with 96% Hispanic students, we read Twain, Fitzgerald & Dickinson in High School. I had never heard my own words when reading. It was life changing. I just wanted to thank Ms. Cisneros for that, although long overdue.
Thank you, Rosemary. I adore all the writers you mention. It’s an honor that I was able to make a positive impact in your views of literature. Mil gracias for taking the time to send your gratitude. SC
I wanted to send a belated thank you. I heard you read and speak at Contra Costa College last Thursday. I was very nervous and initially did not want to ask any questions, but I thought "Ehh. What the heck. I will probably never have this opportunity again." I had three burning questions and could not pick one to ask. I shared all of them with the hope that you answer one, maybe your favorite or the one you could remember (I have a bad memory. I would not have been able to remember all of the questions if they had been asked of me). To my surprise, you gave me the gift of answering all three. I have written down and shared your answers with everyone who will hear me. Because of you, I know that home is where I belong and I still need to do some searching to find that place. I have a slightly better grasp of the shape love can take, especially among orphans. This has helped me make sense of Diego and Frida y uno de mis viejos amores.Finally, I now see doubt as part of the writing process, not the end. Thank you for your words and time. I forgot to say this in person when you signed my book and we took a picture, but I hope it is not too late and this message gets to you.
I look forward to purchasing and reading "Puro Amor."
Yes, I remember you! Of course. Thank you for writing. It was a moving return to northern California, and your questions all interested me. Mil y un thank-yous. S
Sandra en 1996 lei la casa en mango street y me encanto, soy una avida lectora y mi hija a seguido mis pasos en cuanto a la literatura y musica se trata, Felicidades por todos sus logros
Gracias, Alicia, por tu confirmación. Me regalas mucha luz hoy y te lo agradezco. S
Just want to send thanks to you for your stories and your willingness to share your brilliant writing. It gives me life and affirmation.
The book felt so affirming for me, a black girl who grew up in a neighborhood with people and circumstances that the rest of the world didn't care about. I can't thank you enough.
As do YOU! Gracias, Roberta. That’s the power of art working through you, me, all. We especially need to see ourselves in one another in these times!
Hello! Here is a letter from one of my students who performed as a declamation "My Name." I am sending it in her name.
Hi, Sandra Cisneros! My name is not Esperanza, like the girl in The House on Mango Street. My name is Lola from Argentina. I am at Tequesta Trace Middle School in Florida. On April 28, I participated in the Broward County ESOL Language Mastery Competition and one of my categories was Declamation. I did you story "My Name" from memory. I really loved that story. At the competition, I wore a T shirt that said ZEZE the X and when I finished reciting, I opened my jacket to show the T shirt. The Judges saw the ZEZE the X. I won a medal because of my English and because of your writing. I had problems saying some words, like chandelier, sobbing, baptize. But I had so much fun at the competition. Declamation was the best for me. Thank you for writing The House on Mango Street. I felt like Esperanza.
Ay, Lola, me matas con tu carta. I love it. I know you will do well but want to wish you the best. !Adelante con ganas!
St.paul, MN, USA
Hi, Ms. Cisneros, my name is Malee and I am in 9th grade. I am a fan of your works ever since I read the House on Mango Street in 7th grade. Your stories portray such beautiful characters and messages that leave me in awe. I just wanted to express my gratitude and appreciation for you. Thank you so much!
Oh, Malee, 9th grader from St. Paul. You give me hope in times of hopelessness. Thank you for this bright gift today!
“You’re an inspiration” doesn’t even come close. Thank you for your books, your activism, y muchisimas gracias por ser tu.
I thank you for your ánimo. I often don’t feet like an inspiration to me. I feel impotent and overwhelmed and saddened by what is happening to the poor at this time globally. So thank you. I do what I can and often feel it’s not enough.
Hello Ms. Cisneros,
I am hoping you can help me out. I teach "The House on Mango Street" to my classes and when we get to the chapter titled "Louie, His Cousin & His Other Cousin" we have a debate after listening to Jay and the Techniques song "Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie". Can you please give me any insight into why you selected this song? I believe this song about love is actually more of a song about female oppression is a 1-way relationship. I think of Esperanza's grandmother is
Any insight would be great. Thank you,
Obviously you know more about this song than I do. I only chose it because the real-life girl the character its based on would sing this song. I have no other reason for having selected it, but you are welcome to analyze it as you see fit. After all, I am only the dreamer, but you are my analyst. I need YOU to tell me what my dream meant.
Thanks for writing.
Dedria Humphries Barker
Detroi, Michigan, United States
Dear Ms. Cisneros,
I read your interview with Sharon Lee in the Ploughshares blog this week and was captured by an idea you spoke. I so loved it that I told it to the poets who are at the Can Serrat art residency with me in Barcelona, Spain. The idea I am referring to is, and I quote, ' I know a poem is a poem when I have to invent new language for it."
That is wonderful.
Your interview is also going out on my Twitter feed, and I am thrilled to have a piece of substance. It is so difficult to be witty, bright and gay every time I go there. Thank you for helping me out.
I see you are also in the Ploughshares journal edited by the Iowa Writers Workshop director, Lan Samantha Change.
It's just a matter of time before you are back in the U.S., visiting or otherwise. I hope to see you then. The first and last time I heard you speak was in Chicago at 4Cs. That was a lot of years ago. You were wearing an awesome Mexican belt, but now I see you are channeling Frida Kahlo.
So great to see you in the spotlight.
Dedria Humphries Barker
Thanks for reading the interview, but lots of the credit goes to the young interviewer, who I met while in Taipei. Shereen isn’t even 18 years old and she’s already a spark of light. I loved her questions.
I am in the Midwest often, usually in Chicago. My next visit will be in October at the Mexican Museum to launch my new chapbook.
Thanks for writing, and I am not trying to channel Frida, but the Tehuanas of the ithmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca, whom Frida was emulating as well.
Hola Sandra, I am a middle school Spanish in Deerfield, IL and we are implementing a new curriculum next school year and we were looking to use one of your novels as a guide. Would there be any possibility that you would be available to be a guest speaker at our middle school next September? Any day as long as it's in the afternoon would be great! I read "House on Mango Street" several times in high school, and am a huge fan of your work. Let us know, I know it's pretty far out but we are trying to lock down our curriculum and would be so grateful for this opportunity!
I rarely get back to Chicago with enough time to do a school visit. But if you are interested, I am forwarding this to my agent. She will let you know if my schedule allows. Thank you. S
Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico
My name is Esly Sarmiento, I am an English teacher in a small school near Puerto Vallarta. I am originally from Chicago first generation and recently moved to Mexico to give my family a better way of life. I am trying to get my students exposed to other ways of writing and reading. I read House on Mango Street when I was younger and wanted to expose my students to this book and this story. I was wondering if there was anyyy way we can get even a skype mini interview with Sandra. In Mexico we do not have a reading culture and I would love to get my students motivated by meeting someone who has written a book. We are in school until July 8 so if there was any way we can set this up it would be so amazing. I hope to hear back from you.
My skype connections in Mexico are so undependable, I’ve had to give them up altogether. Too stressful. The connection drops.
Also, I try not to be available to anyone when I am writing, and I came here to Mexico to write. It’s difficult to write anything worthwhile on the days I talk.
Will you allow me to write the books you enjoy? You can look on my website and see a few videos where I appear. Would that be of use to you?
I wish I could do more, but for more than thirty years I have been available, and now I am in sanctuary trying to be quiet and work.
Thank you for believing in my writing and taking it to those who need it. Right now my books are out of print in Mexico, but we are working on getting them republished.
Rapid City, South Dakota, USA
We're reading one of your most famous books, The House on Mango Street, and we're stuck on the discussion of which are your personal stories, which were your students, and which are fiction to create incite and cohesiveness in the story. We realize we can't have a play by play of what is occurring, but we would greatly appreciate some light to be shed on our situation. We really enjoy the book and talking about what is happening. Thank you for writing this notable piece of literature.
Concerned Students (Kyleigh, Hailey, Kenna, Sydney)
Hi, Concerned Students in Rapid City,
I cannot take every story apart, as there are many layers to each, but take a look at my last book A HOUSE OF MY OWN, for some insight on the matter. Each story is a collage of many lives, not simply lifted from my own life. That means, all the characters are me, and none of them are. I use my own emotions to understand stories that I witnessed or were told to me. Even if a story didn’t happen to me, I have to search in my heart for a similar feeling to write from a true place. I hope this makes it clear how one writes. It’s all created from real parts stitched together to make a “Frankenstein” from many lives.
Thanks for asking.
Boston, MA USA
Found your poem, By Way of Explanation, on the Knoph Poerty site. I am a songwriter. I liked the idea of using geography to define a person. I can see from some of your pictures, particularly the one on the cover of A House of My Own that you have many "looks" You have mostly likely been asked where you are from many times, as you can appear to be from the middle east, northern Africa, Italy, and Spain. My first guess would have been Lebanon. I now know of your Mexican-American connection and that too is one of the many looks you have. BTW, San Miguel de Allende is a lovely place. I am sure you enjoy living there for now.
I will try to take your poem written from a female perspective and change it to a male perspective, echoing similar geographic references to define the "woman" which is the subject of the song. I will let you know how it comes out.
I indeed come from many places, as my DNA has proven, but this poem was written decades before I did the bloodwork. Thanks for writing. Hope you write your own poem/song based on your own life. Art should inspire us to create art, and if I have done so, then I will feel fulfilled.
Hi Senora Cisneros,
After reading, and ultimately researching, your work, I felt the need to leave you a message of gratitude and appreciation. Your work is inspirational. It's refreshing to see a strong, bold and beautiful Latina author who writes on behalf of and for girls like me.
Thank you for all you have done and continue to do.
- Jessica Santamaria
May 2nd 2018
Thank you for writing and letting me know the work I do is valuable. So many writers never hear from their readers, and writing is lonely work. I am lucky beyond words! SC
La Grange, IL
This semester I am taking a Writing About Literature course that I dreaded having to take. To my amazement I got a professor who introduced me to the works of Langston Hughes, Carl Sandburg, Lorraine Hansberry and YOU.
Today, 2 weeks from graduating from Concordia University in Chicago at age 59, I can't imagine my life without having read your book. We grew up in the same area. I know Keeler, Paulina and Loomis. I know those bums on the corner and those nasty boys who ruined the romance of the fairytale and friends who went away.
I read your stories before I knew your name and I wondered, is this Ruthie Rios who used to live in the row houses in 1964-5? No, you aren't Ruthie, but I knew the brown shoes and the shoes from the people with little feet.
I just wanted to say thank you for helping to make this the best semester of my undergraduate years and for Esperanza's story that I have shared in these last few weeks with many friends.
I bid you peace and happiness and a big hug!
May 2nd 2018
Congratulations to you for your upcoming degree at the age of 59! Wow! You are an inspiration. Thank you for writing and for feeling at home on Mango Street. I always hope my readers will feel it’s their neighborhood. Your letter is a confirmation. Again, felicidades!
What is one word you hate so much that you will not let it be published in any of your books?
May 2nd 2018
None. I don’t hate anything, but I have strong feelings about what I call myself. S
I just love your work. :)
May 2nd 2018
Thank you, Maritza, for making my day! SC
Hello, my name is Paris Blando I am 15 Years old and I am in the 8th grade at community house middle school in Charlotte NC we are currently reading your book and I am enjoying it....... I know your culture and what you went through and I just want to say thank you for sharing that with me because I feel like I can relate to you
Sincerely, Paris Blando
May, 2nd, 2018
Dear Paris Blando,
I know your culture too, and I just want to say thank you for writing to me today, because I feel like I can relate to YOU!
Best to you,
Michelle Rodríguez Montás
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Right now, I am teaching a Basic Intensive English course at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus until 9:20 p.m. I am standing in front of my students getting them ready to read your work, "No Speak English." I have projected your website and we have read your biography. Today and next Tuesday, we will be reading works by you. Next week, we will enjoy "Geraldo No Last Name." I have a small group of students who are eager to learn Englsh. Jovan Rodríguez, Brenda Villegas, Sonia Neris, Elizabeth Cirilo, and Carolina Guillermo are my students. They are all here and they send you a hello and blessings. Please respond. Thank you. UPRRP INGL3162
Thank you for this letter and saludos to Jovan, Brenda, Sonia, Elizabeth, Caro y la maestra/o. Gracias por su linda carta. Espero que todos estan bien, y espero al fin que se han recuperado del huracán por favor. My heart goes out to Puerto Rico. Que viva Boricua. ¡Abrazos fuertes a todos mis lectores en Puerto Rico! Sandra Cisneros
Dear Ms Cisneros,
My name is Carmen. I live in North Carolina. I'm a 10th grader
and I'm an English Learner student.
I really liked the story "Eleven" because even though I'm fifteen years old
sometimes I feel like a three year old child. For example, when I want to
talk or ask a question to a teacher I don't do it because I'm afraid that they
won't understand what I'm saying because of my English skills and that's
when I want to be older so that I could know what to say without being
afraid of talking to others.
I think I relate to this story because sometimes when I'm frustrated or I
don't know what to do anymore all I want to do is cry like a baby.
Oh, Carmen, me too. I am sixty-three, but sometimes still feel like I’m three. It never goes away that feeling no matter how old you are. Thank you for sharing this with me. I hope you realize that everyone feels this way, and this will make you feel less alone and realize, hey, I’m only human. Then be kind to the three year-old inside yourself. Forgive and be patient with you. You are still three underneath the you you are today. SC
Dear Ms. Cisneros
My name is Sohary Andino. I am a student at Ashley High School, in North Carolina. I am a 17 year old girl and I am an English learner.
I enjoyed reading yor story "Eleven" and I think it should be read by everybody. Mandy people might feel the same way like Rachel was feeling.
I have felt the same way. I have desired my mind could talk when I wanted to say something and this desire comes where I am, all over the places, wherever I go, especially in the high school where I am. As a English learner I wish I can be older to know everything to speak on behalf of all my Latino people, when we are struggeling with the language and people don't listen to us. Even worse is when teachers don't listen to us, when we are confused with the assigments or when our classmates are bullying us and then they act like the victim and the teacher yiells at us. There are times I whish I was one hundred and two.
Dear Sohary, All this you are suffering now is part of you camino sagrado. Right now it is painful for you, but one day you will understand what you were meant to learn and how this pain can be transformed to illuminate your path. Believe me, you will take this with you in work you have yet to do. It is meant to make you feel deeply, open your heart, and see with more than your eyes. Good luck on your path.
Dear Ms Cisneros,
My name is Andrea. I'm a high school student from North Carolina. I'm an ESL student. I'M 18 years old.
I liked the story because all the things that it says are true.
Those things happened to me when I was little and I felt the same way as Rachel. I just wanted to be older and I still want to be older than my age.
I related to the story because many times I don't feel my age and some times I don't feel anything than to be alive. And I related to when she said that she wished to be one hundred two because sometimes old people don't believe you or they think that they always are right just because you are a kid and they don't let you explain or talk, but if I was older and I could talk to my old teacher,and I will say more than 'yes sir,you're right'.
Thank you, Andrea. You are wise beyond your years! S
Dear Ms. Cisneros,
Hello, Ms. Cisneros; I am a student from the class of ESL , and we read your story "Eleven" and it is a really good a story. I like how she was eleven years old, but she still felt she was 10 years old. The thing really don't understand is why she wanted to be one hundred and two. Maybe because she thinks she can do everything? At the end of the story, she understands.
Well, Alan, read the story again and again, and wait till you are 21, 33, 43, 53, and one-hundred-and-two. Each time you read it, you will understand it better and better. Thanks for writing to me! S
How do you think you have made an impact in the Spanish world with your poetry and without? How do you further want to?
I hope my poetry will grow as forceful as my fiction in doing spiritual work. I’m not there yet, perhaps someday. Right now I feel inadequate to what the times demand from me. Thanks for asking.
We have read The House on Mango Street and would like to ask a question : In the last vignette Mango says Goodbye sometimes: is Esperanza still living in Mango Street or is she in a house of her own, remembering her youth?
Thank you for answering !
Catherine and students
Hi, Catherine and Students,
I don’t know the answer to that one. You tell me. Either one is plausible if you make a case for it. Remember, I’m only the dreamer who dreamt the dream. You are the wise shamans who tell me what the dream meant.
Santa Paula, CA
Hello Ms. Cisneros,
I’m lying curled in my bed right now thinking of you with A House of My Own opened next to me. I’m so enamored with your work. I’m writing my dissertation right now, and you and your words will be in it. You’ve taught me so much about story and how we make meaning of stories by telling them. I hope I will be able to do that with my writing. It’s funny, I’ll be in Mexico backpacking through Michoacán this summer. I thought I should make a pit stop in Guanajuato to look for you. I’d love to just speak with you and be in your presence. And then last night I read the story about your Purple House and I laughed at myself. You’re an amazing woman who deserves her solitude at home, not crazy people fangirling at your door. I, too, enjoy my solitude!
I really can’t begin to explain what your writing has done for me or my work. I’m deeply indebted to you. Thank you so much.
Thank you for respecting my privacy, Larisa. It’s why I came to Mexico, among other reasons. When I’m home, I am the writer not the author. If you want to meet me, check my calendar for public events. The author will be glad to see you. Otherwise, please allow the writer to write. Mil gracias. S
Saludos de Arizona!
I am a counselor at the University of Arizona. Your work and commitment to education makes my day. I have a great job listening to the stories of young adults. I am also writing a "diary of a teenager who grew up in the barrio of Tucson, AZ"
Thank you for generous spirit and beautiful heart!
Dra. Minnie Almader
¡Adelante with your writing, Doctora! Happy to hear this. S
Me encanta todos los anos poder leer su novela,:La casa en Mango Street" con mis estudiantes. La disfrutan mucho, ademas aprenden mucho de ella.
Gracias mil, Saadia Reichard. Me regalas ánimo con tu linda carta. S
“Things don’t fall apart. Things hold. Lines connect in thin ways that last and last and lives become generations made out of pictures and words just kept.” ~Lucille Clifton
I just discovered A House of My Own: Stories from my Life, while birthday shopping for a friend, and bought your book for myself. Why did I not know about this beautiful book of your cuentos sooner? What a precious, inspiring gift! it makes me want to write my own stories. I am trying to hold back and read just little bits, desserts to savor, instead of devouring greedily. Thank you, mil gracias, and Love to you, hermana de palabras.
Thank you! I hope it does inspire you to write your own creative thoughts, as good books should! S
My name is Lucy Santillan. I am a big fan of you. The city of Santa Ana could really use your help and I know that you are passionate about the movement. I am a student at Santa Ana College in the city of Santa Ana and a member of a student group known at school as Alianza Chicana. We are a club the focuses on teaching students and the community about Chicano/Chicana culture, giving back to the community through community service, and promoting social justice for our people. Over the past week one of our community murals, “Heroes Among Us” was vandalized twice with blue, white, and black paint. The mural was created by Carlos Aguilar over the span of 4 years. “Heroes Among Us” pays direct homage and honors Mexican-American soldiers and fallen soldiers during WWII in Vietnam and pays tribute to the veterans who served. The majority of the veterans displayed are members of the Santa Ana community, more specifically the Logan neighborhood where the mural is located. Carlos Aguilar primarily spent his own funds to buy materials such as paint and tools, only getting small donations from the community. We have come together along with 5 Chicano studies classes, here in Santa Ana, to raise funds for the murals’ restoration. Our club advisor, Rodrigo Valles, has gotten in contact with Aguilar and he is willing to start working on the mural as soon as the resources are available, and not only that but after that mural is restored, he also agreed to help with the restoration of murals all around our beloved Santa Ana. We love our city, we love our people, and we love our community. It would mean everything if you could help us spread the word about our cause and our efforts by sharing our Gofundme page https://www.gofundme.com/sa-quotamong-heroesquot-mural-restoration
Any help is deeply appreciated, from a dollar to a simple share of the page, or even a glance. Below is my contact information for further questions. Thank you for your time.
I will see what I can do. S
Hello, my name is Kaitlin Cole,
I am a Junior in High School and am working on a yearlong project about an author for my AP English 3 class. Towards the beginning of the year I chose Ms. Cisneros to write my report on and have read several of her work, but I am hoping to contact her to ask her a few questions to give my essay a little edge and get an A on my assignment. Thank you, Kaitlin Cole. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thank you for selecting me, Kaitlin, but I do not answer questions for school reports due to my time schedule. Check out my last book, A HOUSE OF MY OWN, for the little edge you seek. Good luck. SC
Dear Ms. Cisneros,
An ex-fiancee left some lines from 'One Last Poem for Richard' on my bed after she'd moved her things out of the apartment while I was away at work. "Drama Queen..." I thought at the time.
Thank you for your beautiful words. Were you aware the fuse had a 2 year time-delay?
Dear Tommy Stone,
Well, at least it was a poem and not a Molatov. I think she meant she has a lot of love for you still, even if things could not work out as you both wished. She left with regrets and good wishes for you. Believe me, I know.
Thank you for sharing this with me. How bittersweet is love. The joy reminds us we are alive, but the pain does as well. Congratulations for taking the risk and for remembering to do so. Only the brave are willing to open their hearts again, and then again.
I wish you courage.
San Antonio, Texas
Sandra! Hope this message finds you well. I am a long time fan of your writing; interestingly enough, I grew up in Chicago, lived in SF for 22 yrs [attended USF] & now live in San Antonio. I don't know if you are following me or the other way around. I am hoping our paths will cross one day. I am volunteering next month at the SA Book Festival here in SA, maybe then! If not, thank you for your inspiration & for being such a positive role model. Best wishes.
Did we meet? Hope so! Good luck to you, Teo, and forgive the delay in reading this, but I was in Taipei and Honolulu just before landing in San Antonio. Thus, the dark glasses. S
Kesha B Pun
Dear Author, Namaste (Nepali Word),
I am doing research on your book, "The house on Mango Street" and having so many information through your website and google. I am trying to apply Marxist feminism . May I please get your support?
Dear Kesha B. Pun,
You have my support. There’s plenty of information in my last book A HOUSE OF MY OWN. Look there. Good luck. S
Hi Ms. Cisneros,
I have been recently been writing a paper for my AP english class for a contest. This contest consists of writing a Latino that impacts Texas History. I live in South Texas and I love what you do and your work. I am a Debate student and am doing a pros contest that includes your short story, Eleven. I am a hispanic and I love what your messages send in your writings. I feel that you impacted so many young women in your work and I thank you for that.
Thank you, Stefanie! ¡Adelante con ganas! Hope you win. SC
Raleigh, NC, USA
I have a student question about Angel Vargas. I think that Angel died on page 30 even though he is mentioned again on page 68 it is because the chapters are not necessarily chronological. Several of my students disagree with my interpretation, so I thought we could clarify by asking you about it. So the question is does Angel die? Thanks in advance!
Someone else asked the same thing, perhaps a classmate. As I said then, it depends on how you interpret the book. You could make the case for either. I don’t have a definitive answer. You are the reader and the one who has to tell me. S
Sofia, Bulgaria/Charleston, SC/Dickinson, ND
You do not know me because you never met me but I know a little of you as I met your books. I read some of them, and they are the reason I am writing this message today. I want to thank you. I could make a long list of reasons why but, to me, it always comes back to one line about smelling home. I, too, had a sister, and like the kids in your book, we could look at each other and know "This is home."
Like millions before me, I came to this country from another country, and my memories are still with me. There is so much stuff in my head sometimes that it scares me to think I have been living two separate lives in one single lifetime. You understand, I think. When I read your books, something rusty, old and stubborn always comes to life, and makes me feel as if all of me is tingling, like a hand or toe after being out in the cold. Defrosting from the inside out.
Thank you for giving me a little of my aliveness back, for making this world a little more colorful, more interesting, more worthy place to live. I hope you keep writing for a long time yet.
Thank you for writing, Ellie. Your letter uplifts me today! SC
Hi! My name is Dana and I'm 17 years old. I'm from San Miguel del Monte's city. This has been my third day as a student at the La Plata's Public University. I had to move in order to study what I believe I love.
I want to become an English teacher and translator. and during the classes we read your biography and some of your stories and quotations. I admire your way of writting and describing. It lets us imagine the scene as if we were there.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge and talent with the world. You're the voice of too many people who doesn't know how to share their feelings.
Wish you the best,
Thank you for sending saludos all the way from Argentina. It’s a joy to know I have a reader there.
I too had to travel to another town to do my studies. It no doubt must be difficult, but whatever allows you a better education, the chance to earn your own money, and to control your destiny is always worth it. Adelante y con ánimo. Thanks for writing!
San Antonio, Texas
Hello Ms Cisneros , it is almost a year since we talked on the plane to Houston from San Miguel , My daughter had taken me on a most wonderful visit to that magical town , I have thought of you often and want to thank you for the great visit we had on the plane , you were on your way to visit your translator. I got back to San Antonio and got back into the daily grind, I take care of my 88 year old Mother, she has Alzheimer's, have been doing it for a while , but God is good , I hope to go back to San Miguel some day I absolutely loved that city !! You are lucky to be able to live there!!! God Bless and hope to see you in San Antonio or San Miquel !!
It was good to meet you at the airport, if only briefly. Take care of you, so you can take care of your mom. You have a beautiful spirit. Am wishing you the best!
Saint Paul, Minnesota
My name is Yara Omer. I am a special education teacher at Humboldt High School, Saint Paul Public Schools.
We just read "Eleven" and we LOVED it!
We talked about how you were able to capture the feelings of that little girl and how you used similes to express how she felt in an interesting way.
The students decided to spend an entire class time to learn more about your life and what inspires you to write. They have so many questions about how you get inspired and how you dedicated your life to writing.
Thank you for enriching our minds the hearts. I finalize these thoughts and send you this note as my students are completing their author reports :-)
Have a good day!
Thank you for your letter! And thank you for the work you do as a teacher. I hope you will share selections from my last book HOUSE OF MY OWN that might answer their questions. Tell them I am busy at work on my own writing and cannot answer them individually, but there should be plenty about my personal life there. Although the book is not written for young students, I’m sure you can find what is age-appropriate for your readers. Mil gracias for your kind words of praise.