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Border Stories

Readers' Cafe

Dear America Notes of an Undocumented Citizen
The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez A Border Story
The Devil's Highway A True Story
Fandango at the Wall Creating Harmony Between the United States and Mexico
The Far Away Brothers Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life
Homelands Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration
A House of My Own Stories from My Life
Just Like Us The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America
The Line Becomes a River Dispatches from the Border
Stranger
Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen / JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS

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Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, called "the most famous undocumented immigrant in America," tackles one of the defining issues of our time in this explosive and deeply personal call to arms.

"This is not a book about the politics of immigration. This book--at its core--is not about immigration at all. This book is about homelessness, not in a traditional sense, but in the unsettled, unmoored psychological state that undocumented immigrants like myself find ourselves in. This book is about lying and being forced to lie to get by; about passing as an American and as a contributing citizen; about families, keeping them together, and having to make new ones when you can't. This book is about constantly hiding from the government and, in the process, hiding from ourselves. This book is about what it means to not have a home.

The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez: A Border Story / Aaron Bobrow-Strain

What happens when an undocumented teen mother takes on the U.S. immigration system? When Aida Hernandez was born in 1987 in Agua Prieta, Mexico, the nearby U.S. border was little more than a worn-down fence. Eight years later, Aida's mother took her and her siblings to live in Douglas, Arizona. By then, the border had become one of the most heavily policed sites in America.

Undocumented, Aida fought to make her way. She learned English, watched "Friends", and, after having a baby at sixteen, dreamed of teaching dance and moving with her son to New York City. But life had other plans. Following a misstep that led to her deportation, Aida found herself in a Mexican city marked by violence, in a country that was not hers. To get back to the United States and reunite with her son, she embarked on a harrowing journey.

The Devil's Highway: A True Story / Luis Alberto Urrea

In May 2001, a group of men attempted to cross the Mexican border into the desert of southern Arizona, through the deadliest region of the continent, the "Devil's Highway." Three years later, Luis Alberto Urrea wrote about what happened to them. The result was a national bestseller, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a "book of the year" in multiple newspapers, and a work proclaimed as a modern American classic.
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Fandango at the Wall: Creating Harmony Between the United States and Mexico / Kabir Sehgal

Multi-Grammy-winning producer and New York Times bestselling author Kabir Sehgal examines the relationship between the US and Mexico, accompanied by music from Grammy-winning musician Arturo O'Farrill and special guests.?

The US-Mexican relationship has involved periods of great friendship with robust trade and loose immigration policies. But its history has also been beset by wars, drug trade, and human trafficking. With the latest xenophobic turn toward Mexico, this book contextualizes the latest swing in the up-and-down, two-hundred-year history of these two countries. In a lyrical narrative reflecting on Fandango Fronterizo, an annual musical celebration held on both sides of the border wall, Sehgal addresses how the broken US-Mexico relationship has been repaired in the past and continues to adapt today.

The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life / LAUREN MARKHAM

Growing up in rural El Salvador in the wake of the civil war, Ernesto Flores had always had a fascination with the United States, the distant land of skyscrapers and Nikes, while his identical twin, Raul, never felt that northbound tug. But when Ernesto ends up on the wrong side of the region's brutal gangs he is forced to flee the country, and Raul, because he looks just like his brother, follows close behind - away from one danger and toward the great American unknown.

In this urgent chronicle of contemporary immigration, journalist Lauren Markham follows the seventeen-year-old Flores twins as they make their harrowing journey across the Rio Grande and the Texas desert, into the hands of immigration authorities, and from there to their estranged older brother's custody in Oakland, CA. Soon these unaccompanied minors are navigating a new school in a new language, working to pay down their mounting coyote debt, and facing their day in immigration court, while also encountering the triumphs and pitfalls of life as American teenagers - girls, grades, Facebook - with only each other for support. With intimate access and breathtaking range, Markham offers a coming of age tale that is also a nuanced portrait of Central America's child exodus, an investigation of U.S. immigration policy, and an unforgettable testament to the migrant experience.

Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration / ALFREDO CORCHADO

From prize-winning journalist and immigration expert Alfredo Corchado comes the sweeping story of the great Mexican migration from the late 1980s to today. When Corchado moved to Philadelphia in 1987, he felt as if he was the only Mexican in the city. But in a restaurant called Tequilas, he connected with two other Mexican men and one Mexican American, all feeling similarly isolated. Over the next three decades, the four friends continued to meet, coming together over their shared Mexican roots and their love of tequila. One was a radical activist, another a restaurant/tequila entrepreneur, the third a lawyer/politician. Alfredo himself was a young reporter for the "Wall Street Journal." Homelands merges the political and the personal, telling the story of the last great Mexican migration through the eyes of four friends at a time when the Mexican population in the United States swelled from 700,000 people during the 1970s to more than 35 million people today.

A House of My Own: Stories from My Life / Sandra Cisneros

From the Chicago neighborhoods where she grew up and set her groundbreaking The House on Mango Street to her abode in Mexico in a region where "my ancestors lived for centuries," the places Sandra Cisneros has lived have provided inspiration for her now-classic works of fiction and poetry. But a house of her own, where she could truly take root, has eluded her. With this collection - spanning 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 lyricism, these signature pieces recall transformative memories as well as reveal her defining artistic and intellectual influences.

Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America / Helen Thorpe

Written by a gifted journalist, a powerful account of four young Mexican women coming of age in Denver - two of whom have legal documentation, two of whom who don't - and the challenges they face as they attempt to pursue the American dream. Just Like Us takes readers on a compelling journey with four young Mexican-American women who have lived in the U.S. since childhood. Exploring not only the women's personal life stories, this book also delves deep into an American subculture and the complex and controversial politics that surround the issue of immigration.

The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border / FRANCISCO CANT

For Francisco Cantu, the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Haunted by the landscape of his youth, Cantu joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners are posted to remote regions crisscrossed by drug routes and smuggling corridors, where they learn to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights. They haul in the dead and deliver to detention those they find alive. Cantu tries not to think where the stories go from there.

Plagued by nightmares, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantu discovers that the border has migrated with him, and now he must know the whole story. Searing and unforgettable, The Line Becomes a River makes urgent and personal the violence our border wreaks on both sides of the line.

Stranger / Jorge Ramos

Jorge Ramos, an Emmy award-winning journalist, Univision's longtime anchorman and widely considered the "voice of the voiceless" within the Latino community, was forcefully removed from an Iowa press conference in 2015 by then-candidate Donald Trump after trying to ask about his plans on immigration.

In this personal manifesto, Ramos sets out to examine what it means to be a Latino immigrant, or just an immigrant, in present-day America. With current research and statistics, a journalist nose for a story, and his own personal experience, Ramos shows us the changing face of America while trying to find an explanation for why he, and millions of others, still feel like strangers in this country.
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