Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Wonder Friend. Wonder Friend Wonders, “Who Is Sandra Cisneros?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Wonder Friend!

Can you name any famous authors? You might think of William Shakespeare. If you’ve been WONDERing with us for a while, you may name Maya Angelou or Shel Silverstein. Today’s Wonder of the Day is about another talented writer—Sandra Cisneros!

Sandra Cisneros was born on December 20, 1954. She was the third child in a family of seven kids—and she was the only girl. Cisneros was born in Chicago. As she grew up, her family moved between Chicago and Mexico. 

Cisneros wrote her first poem at the age of 10. Later, she enrolled in Chicago’s Loyola University. In 1976, she finished with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Two years later, she earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa.

After graduation, Cisneros worked as a teacher. At Chicago’s Latino Youth Alternative School, she taught teenagers who had dropped out of high school. She went on to teach creative writing to children at many different grade levels. She also worked as a writer and teacher at several colleges.

Cisneros’s identity as a Latina and feminist has influenced her writing. Many of her stories, poems, and books focus on working-class Latinx families. The characters often go through social and cultural challenges. Many of her pieces also use both the Spanish and English languages.

In 1980, Cisneros published her first book. It was a collection of poetry that she titled “Bad Boys.” Since then, she has written many more poems, short stories, and novels. She also published a children’s book called “Hairs/Pelitos” in 1994.

Many of Cisneros’s books are popular. One of the most well-known is “The House on Mango Street,” published in 1984. This novel has sold over six million copies. It’s also been translated into more than 20 languages. It even won the National Book Award in 1985.

In 1995, Cisneros founded the Macondo Writers Workshop. This group welcomes writers who are involved in activism. Today, the workshop still meets each year. Attending writers (of whom there are over 250) call themselves Macondistas. 

In 2016, President Barack Obama gave Sandra Cisneros the National Medal of the Arts. She has also received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the MacArthur Foundation. Today, Cisneros lives in Mexico with her four dogs.

Have you ever read a poem or book by Sandra Cisneros? Do you have another favorite author? Maybe you dream of becoming a great poet yourself. Thanks to writers like Cisneros, great literature will touch people for many years to come.

Standards: CCRA.R.4, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.W.3, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.3, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.SL.2

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