A letter from Ernesto Cisneros, author of Efrén Divided

Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros
On Sale 3.31.20

Dear Reader,

I am so pleased you have chosen to read Efrén Divided, a story deeply rooted in family, friendship, and the tearing down of walls being built between us all. It is the story of twelve-year-old Efrén Nava and his struggle to care for his younger siblings after his mother’s deportation. It is especially poignant during these times as families continue to be cruelly separated from one another.

Three years ago, my middle-school-aged daughter asked why America was so angry at families like ours. “Because they do not know us” was the best response I could give her. And this is pretty much how the book came to be. Not only was it an attempt to have Americans experience America through an entirely different lens, it was also an attempt to let Latino children know that they are worthy of being included on the pages of American literature.

This book was not an easy story to tell; however, my twenty-plus years of teaching in a low-socioeconomic neighborhood has helped supply the backdrop for this book. This story is not mine alone. It is a story of many young students who I have had the honor of teaching (and learning from) throughout my career. I feel privileged to share this world with you.

Thank you for your time,
Ernesto Cisneros

Praise for Efrén Divided

"Debut author Cisneros paints a vivid and palpable #ownvoices picture of the lost childhoods as children and parents are separated due to immigration issues. But even as Efrén's world seems to be crashing around him, Cisneros celebrates the kindness of the Mexican American community and its richness of food, culture, and resilient spirit.Honest and tender: a must-read."
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Authentically told, and interwoven with hope, strength, and beauty, Efrén Divided is true to life and all too timely. A must-read for anyone with a heart. This book is a gift to the world.”
— Sarah Scheerger, author of Operation Frog Effect

“This book broke my heart as much as it lifted it!”
— Aida Salazar, critically acclaimed author of The Moon Within & Land of the Cranes

“A beautifully told and important book that offers readers a heart-wrenching and authentic glimpse into today’s immigration policies. Cisneros handles the timely subject matter with heart, depth and authenticity, leaving readers like me hopeful and determined to make this world a better place for all children.”
— Angela Cervantes, award-winning author of Gaby, Lost and Found and Lety Out Loud

“We need books to break open our hearts, so that we might feel more deeply, so that we might be more human in these unkind times. I felt the author was asking each of his readers to be more human, that we were being called to be our own heroes, just as the protagonist is being asked this. This is a book doing work of the spirit in a time of darkness.”
— Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street

About the Book

Efrén Nava’s Amá is his Superwoman—or Soperwoman, named after the delicious Mexican sopes his mother often prepares. Both Amá and Apá work hard all day to provide for the family, making sure Efrén and his younger siblings Max and Mía feel safe and loved.

But Efrén worries about his parents; although he’s American-born, his parents are undocumented. His worst nightmare comes true one day when Amá doesn’t return from work and is deported across the border to Tijuana, México.

Now more than ever, Efrén must channel his inner Soperboy to help take care of and try to reunite his family.

About the Author

Ernesto Cisneros was born and raised in Santa Ana, California, where he still teaches. He holds an English degree from the University of California, Irvine; a teaching credential from California State University, Long Beach; as well as a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from National University. As an author, he believes in providing today’s youth with an honest depiction of characters with whom they can identify. The real world is filled with amazing people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. His work strives to reflect that. Efrén Divided is his first book. You can visit him online at www.ernestocisneros.com.