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Solito, Solita


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INTRODUCTION by Steven Mayers and Jonathan Freedman



Soledad Castillo, Honduras: "Nobody wanted me."

Josue Nieves, El Salvador: "My father didn't want me to see that he was crying."

Gabriel Mendez, Honduras: "I was made to do things I didn't want to do."

Jhony Chuc, Guatemala: "You ride on top of the Beast and are totally exposed."

Noemi Tun, Guatemala: "People fought over water and land."

Isabel Vasquez, El Salvador: "Before, a village like ours was so beautiful, and suddenly things were ruined."

Danelia Silva, El Salvador: "He'd break down doors and come through the windows, or, if not, from the roof, up the fire escape."

Adrian Cruz, Guatemala: "I was solito, solito. I decided to cross by myself."

Pedro Hernandez, Guatemala: "The immigration police herded us into cars and drove us to la hielera, the freezer."

Cristhian Molina, Honduras: "For eighteen years I have wandered from the bottom to the top of North America, trying to change my life."

Rosa Cuevas, El Salvador: "We walked for days, through the jungle, risking our lives, not meeting anyone."

Ernesto Gonzalez, Honduras: "I'm the only one still alive."

Julio Zavala, Honduras: "When I slept, there were cameras on four sides."

Ismael Xol, Guatemala: "Maybe I'll be transferred to the university next year as planned, or maybe I'll be deported back to Guatemala."

Itzel Tzab, Guatemala: "Only by leaving my studies could I work to pay him back."


  1. Ten Things You Can Do
  2. Historical Timeline

III. Glossary

  1. Essays

Risk Factors for Children

Violence against Women

Promotional Information

  • Galleys available
  • Serial pitch to Harper's and Buzzfeed which both ran excerpts from Six by Ten
  • National Print Campaign: Send advance copies to the following publications: The New Yorker, Harper's, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, The Nation, Washington Post, Vice, Propublica, The Root, Jacobin, and more
  • Trades: Foreword, Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus, Library Journal
  • Pitch interviews and reviews to: Democracy Now!, The Nation, Root, Jacobin, Christian Science Monitor, Shelf Awareness, Telesur,, Alternet, Truthout, Root, Racialicious, Huffington Post, Counterpunch
  • Promote on Haymarket and Voice of Witness social media accounts
  • National book tour featuring editors and narrators

About the Author

Steven Mayers is a writer, oral historian, and professor at the City College of San Francisco. He has interviewed Central American migrants for over a decade. His master's thesis explored ways in which fiction can challenge historical accounts of the past, and his dissertation, analyzing the stories of Central American war refugees, focused on the themes of identity, home, and forgiveness.

Jonathan Freedman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, and mentor with more than thirty years' experience reporting from Central America, Mexico, and the US border. His six-year series of investigative editorials for the San Diego Tribune was influential in the passage of the landmark 1986 US immigration reforms that authorized 2.7 million undocumented immigrants to become permanent legal residents.


"Intense testimonies that leave one shivering, astonished at the bravery of the human spirit. Mayers and Freedman have done a magnanimous job collecting these histories. America, are you listening?"

-Sandra Cisneros

"Solito, Solita gives readers the rare chance to hear directly from young migrants who have risked everything for a better life on our side of the border. With unflinching clarity, they detail the violence they left behind, the fear and difficulties they face after arrival, and the hope and resiliency that carries them through it all. They have courageously shared these experiences with the idea that people like us might read their stories and be moved to action, and we owe it to them to do so."

-Francisco Cantu, author of The Line Becomes a River

"This book fills a crucial missing piece in today's immigration debate. Everyone who cares about immigration-and about migrants-should read it... The searing, heart-wrenching firsthand accounts in this book bring to life the experiences of Central Americans before they reach the United States: the tragic experiences of poverty, violence, and abuse that push individuals to flee their homes, the agonizing and perilous journeys across Mexico and Central America, and the baffling bureaucracy and abuse they find upon arriving in the United States."

-Aviva Chomsky, professor at Salem State University and author of Undocumented

"Stories of war and exile, of migrations and survival-a most pertinent collection for our times, one that puts a human face on the greatest tragedy and humanitarian crises of our generation. This collection is a must-read for politicians that demonize refugees and a call to action for everyone else."

-Alejandro Murguia, San Francisco Poet Laureate Emeritus and professor of Latina/ Latino Studies at San Francisco State University

"Immigration narratives are too often reduced to tropes, to statistics and numbers, to binary politics and manipulative rhetoric, but not so in this volume of stories. Solito, Solita reaches beyond and beneath the headlines, clearing the mess and the noise so that we can hear the voices that matter most in contemporary migration: those of young migrants themselves."

-Lauren Markham, author of Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life

"These raw voices pulse with heartbreak, resilience, hope, and even joy, shining a light on the forces that compel young people to flee their homes in the Northern Triangle in search of safety and solace in the United States. A must-read for today's immigration debate."

-Sara Campos, codirector of the New American Story Project

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