#NACACreads Author Hopes New Book Inspires Undocumented Students

Did you participate in our #NACACreads chat with Julissa Arce earlier this year?

The author and activist has released a new book about her experiences as an undocumented immigrant.

Someone Like Me — aimed at students ages 11 to 14 — was released last month. Arce told The New York Times that she hopes her story inspires undocumented students to dream big when it comes to higher education and their future.

“When I was in middle school I never read a book about undocumented people or in which the protagonist (was) a Latina. Today, I went to a school, and I talked to 200 fifth graders. We talked about what ‘someone like me’ can do,” she recently told the Times. “These kids were like ‘Someone like me can become a doctor’ and ‘Someone like me can become a biologist.’ Some of those kids were undocumented, and I really wanted them to feel like someone like them can — even if they don’t look like the people in all of the books they’re reading.”

Arce’s parents brought her to the United States from Mexico on a tourist visa when she was 11. Despite the obstacles she faced as an undocumented student, she graduated from college and went on to become a Wall Street executive.

Arce became a US citizen in 2014. Three years later, she published a memoir — My (Underground) American Dream — chronicling her experiences. Her latest book, also a memoir, tells her story for a younger audience.

“Education can help break barriers of any kind,” she told NACAC members during the Jan. 9 twitter chat.  “Let’s level the playing field for everyone!”

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org. 

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