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Mexican-born Author Shares Stories about His Life to Classes in the Library

Author Luis Albreto Urrea came to West thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts. Students were provided with copies of his book, Into the Beautiful North, thanks to Federal Title I funds.

Mr.+Urrea+met+and+talked+personally+with+many+students.
Mr. Urrea met and talked personally with many students.

Mr. Urrea met and talked personally with many students.

S. Ocasio-Bowman

S. Ocasio-Bowman

Mr. Urrea met and talked personally with many students.

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“Tijuana is in the house” was one of Luis Alberto’s Urrea’s first words when he came to Morton West high school for the first time to introduce his book Into the Beautiful North. Luis Alberto Urrea was born and raised in a poor neighborhood in Tijuana, Mexico. From an early age, Luis Alberto Urrea was introduced to the complex  realities of the U.S and Mexican border when he moved to San Diego at age 5.

Students who attended his presentation were provided with a free copy of Mr. Urrea's book.

S. Ocasio-Bowman
Students who attended his presentation were provided with copies of Mr. Urrea’s book.

As he was growing up he started to go through some tough changes.  He moved to the United States with his parents, and things were very different compared to the life he had lived in Mexico. His childhood wasn’t easy: while he was in school since his classmates saw Luis differently, and he learned what it was like to have classmates call him by racial slurs, including “wetback”. Urrea was bullied, but he did not pay much attention to the snubs. However, he knew he liked writing so he used it to his advantage to win girls’ hearts with poems. Although it was a big move, Luis Alberto managed to keep his cultural background alive by later becoming a writer and writing a combination of stories that portrayed realities from both sides of the border.

Mr. Urrea spoke about his youth in both Mexico and the U.S.

D. Svigel
Mr. Urrea spoke about his youth in both Mexico and the U.S.

During his presentation, Luis Alberto Urrea was asked about some of the characters he included in his book, and what inspired the creation of the characters themselves. Mr. Urrea gladly responded and said that some of the characters were in fact real people he actually interacted with. Out of the characters in his book, Luis Alberto Urrea talked about Nayeli the most. For those who are unfamiliar with the book, Into the Beautiful North, Nayeli was the protagonist in the story or hero who saved her village in Mexico. The reason behind her heroic qualities is her friendship with Luis Alberto in the real world. After going through a near death experience with his young friend Nayeli Urrea, promised her he would one day make her the hero of one of his books. Not only is Nayeli the hero in the book, but also a figure people reading the book can relate to and admire.

The author signed copies of students' books.

D. Svigel
The author signed copies of students’ books.

Thank you to Luis Alberto Urrea for attending Morton West High School and introducing his book,5 and for teaching the audience to not judge a book by its cover.

 

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The digital magazine of J. Sterling Morton West High School
Mexican-born Author Shares Stories about His Life to Classes in the Library