The House on Mango Street

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Sandra Cisneros on Reaching Non-Readers with Her Books

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For WBEZ Chicago, Sandra Cisneros discusses winning the Fuller Award, an honor given to the city’s greatest living writers. Her most celebrated novel, The House on Mango Street, takes place in Chicago, and she reflects on the book’s enduring legacy. “I think that I was able to reach non-readers as well as book lovers because it’s a small, slender book,” Cisneros says. “It doesn’t intimidate non-readers and it’s written in a language that’s very simple. So even if you grew up in Taipei, Oslo or Chicago, people recognize something of themselves in that story. It becomes a universal story and that’s what I wanted. I never say it’s Chicago in the book. I wanted the reader from Tokyo or Tripoli to read it and say, ‘Oh, I know these people. That’s my street too.'”

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