Author's story hits home for many students

Prize-winning author Reyna Grande told a crowd of students at Petaluma High School Tuesday that her new memoir "The Distance Between Us" isn't just her story, but her family's.

But for many of the students in the audience, it's their story, too.

"The Distance Between Us" tells the story of Grande's family — after her father leaves their hometown in Mexico for the U.S. to find work, after her mother also leaves, and what happens to a family left behind in deep poverty and emotional turmoil. It also tells the tale of what happens to that same family when they are brought back together after years have passed and lives have changed.

"It was really hard to reconnect," Grande said of life in Los Angeles with her father, eight years after he first left their hometown of Iguala. "There were so many things he didn't know about me and there were so many things I didn't know about him."

Grande spent more than three hours Tuesday speaking with Petaluma High School students, followed by a community reading at the high school last night. Grande will speak with students at Casa Grande today.

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