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Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Benjamin Alire Sáenz was born in 1954 in his grandmother's house in Old Picacho, a small farming village in the outskirts of Las Cruces, New Mexico in 1954. He was the fourth of seven children and was raised on a small farm near Mesilla Park. Later, when the family lost the farm, his father went... show more



Benjamin Alire Sáenz was born in 1954 in his grandmother's house in Old Picacho, a small farming village in the outskirts of Las Cruces, New Mexico in 1954. He was the fourth of seven children and was raised on a small farm near Mesilla Park. Later, when the family lost the farm, his father went back to his former occupation—being a cement finisher. His mother worked as a cleaning woman and a factory worker. During his youth, he worked at various jobs—painting apartments, roofing houses, picking onions, and working for a janitorial service. He graduated from high school in 1972, and went on to college and became something of a world traveler. He studied philosophy and theology in Europe for four years and spent a summer in Tanzania. He eventually became a writer and professor and moved back to the border—the only place where he feels he truly belongs. He is an associate professor in the MFA creative writing program at the University of Texas at El Paso, the only bilingual creative writing program in the country. Ben Saenz considers himself a fronterizo, a person of the border. He is also a visual artist and has been involved as a political and cultural activist throughout his life. Benjamin Sáenz­ is a novelist, poet, essayist and writer of children's books. His young adult novel Sammy & Juliana in Hollywood was selected as one of the Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults in 2005, and his prize-winning bilingual picture books for children—A Gift from Papá Diego and Grandma Fina and Her Wonderful Umbrellas—have been best-selling titles. A Perfect Season for Dreaming is Ben's newest bilingual children's book which has received two starred reviews, one from Publishers Weekly and one from Kirkus Reviews. He has received the Wallace Stegner Fellowship, the Lannan Fellowship and an American Book Award. His first book of poems, Calendar of Dust, won an American Book Award in 1992. That same year, he published his first collection of short stories, Flowers for the Broken. In 1995, he published his first novel, Carry Me Like Water (Hyperion), and that same year, he published his second book of poems, Dark and Perfect Angels. Both books were awarded a Southwest Book Award by the Border Area Librarians Association. In 1997, HarperCollins published his second novel, The House of Forgetting. Ben is a prolific writer whose more recent titles include In Perfect Light (Rayo/Harper Collins), Names on a Map (Rayo/Harper Collins), He Forgot to Say Goodbye (Simon and Schuster), and two books of poetry Elegies in Blue (Cinco Puntos Press), and Dreaming the End of War (Copper Canyon Press).

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Community Reviews
Reading All Night
Reading All Night rated it 8 months ago
I have been meaning to read this book and just books in general by this author. I put this one in particular off just because of all the praise I have heard surrounding it and just all the awards that covered the front of it. As much as I think awards for books that are great are awesome, I still wa...
Freda's Voice
Freda's Voice rated it 9 months ago
I've wanted to read this so many times and just didn't have a real chance at it. So glad I did now!Man, what a powerful story. Also my first LGBTQ story. Won't be my last!So Dante and Ari, their characters are so real that I find myself crying for them at times, and now after the last page, I am so ...
Bookish Blerd
Bookish Blerd rated it 1 year ago
First person perspective quickly became a non-issue once I got a few chapters into this book. This is probably the best first person story I've read. All the feels. So, so many feels. This story was so profound. I felt like I was Aristotle, or Ari to his friends. He was a lonely, lonely boy, ...
Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents
Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents rated it 3 years ago
I loved this book. I think it's a story that either really connects for you or doesn't at all. I wasn't so sure about it for some, in the beginning, but not too far in I really loved the characters. They're such individuals. They don't really fit into any stereotypes for teens. It made them fee...
Reading is my ESCAPE from Reality!
Reading is my ESCAPE from Reality! rated it 4 years ago
This is an amazing book that seems to truly understand the minds of teenage boys trying to navigate life. It appeals to both boys and girls who are trying to figure out their identity and their lives. Dante seems to know who he is from the beginning, but Aristotle (Ari) is constantly worrying about ...
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