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May Term: Borderlands

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Recommended books


Cross Over Water by Richard Yañez.
Raul Luis "Ruly" Cruz is a young Mexican American who lives in El Paso, just across the Rio Grande from Mexico, home of his ancestors and some of his current relatives. As he grows from adolescence to manhood, he negotiates the precarious borders of family, tradition, and identity trying to find his own place in the Chicano community and in the larger world.

A Place in El Paso: A Mexican-American Childhood by Gloria López-Stafford.
This memoir of growing up in El Paso in the 1940s and 1950s creates an entire city: the way a barrio awakens in the early morning sun, the thrill of a rare desert snow, the taste of fruit-flavored raspadas on summer afternoons, the "money boys" who beg from commuters passing back and forth to Juárez, and the mischief of children entertaining themselves in the streets

Crossing Borders: Personal Essays by Sergio Troncoso.
Sergio Troncoso writes a riveting collection of sixteen personal essays in which he seeks to connect the humanity of his Mexican family to people he meets on the East Coast, including his wife's Jewish kin. Raised in El Paso near the Texas-Mexico border, Troncoso crossed what seemed an even more imposing border when he left home to attend Harvard College.

Enrique's Journey: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with His Mother by Sonia Nazario.
Enrique’s Journey recounts the unforgettable quest of a Honduran boy looking for his mother, eleven years after she is forced to leave her starving family to find work in the United States. Braving unimaginable peril, often clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains, Enrique travels through hostile worlds.

El Paso Del Norte: Stories On The Border by Richard Yañez.
The Chicano characters in Richard Yanez's debut story collection live in El Paso's Lower Valley but inhabit a number of borders-between two countries, two languages, and two cultures, between childhood and manhood, life and death.

The Heart Is Not a Size by Beth Kephart
A story about two friends who embark on a school trip to a Mexican town near the border of the United States. The main character, Georgia, is hoping that the newness of the experience will help her shed both the secret panic attacks she has been experiencing as well as her sense of herself as a “freakishly well-behaved” and predictable decision-maker.

Recommended readings


Click here to go to a folder of readings compiled by Where There Be Dragons staff. These readings are only available to students enrolled in the Southwest Arizona course.


The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú

Border Cantos by Richard Misrach

Other readings