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Recent Work, News & Updates

Tuesday
Sep172019

The Missing 43: Five Years Later

My piece in the New York Review of Books on Mexico's Missing 43 and three important new-ish books (in English) on this persistent human rights tragedy. Five years later, there are still no clear answers as to what happened to these young people and where their bodies were buried. 

 

Posters of missing students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College hanging in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero State, Mexico, October 2014

Sunday
Jun232019

The Myths of Westward Expansion That Just Wont Die

It seems to me that now more than ever, it is every work of literature’s job—regardless of genre—to correct old narratives and to set fire to our murderous mythologies. Who has time for stories that tell the same old lies?    
From a new piece of mine--part essay, part book review--on pioneer mythology (into which I was indoctrinated early on) up at Lithub. 
Saturday
May182019

How Climate Change is Pushing Central American Migrants to the U.S. 

My April Op-Ed for The Guardian

Media outlets and politicians routinely refer to the “flood” of Central American migrants, the “wave” of asylum seekers, the “deluge” of children, despite the fact that unauthorized migration across the US borders is at record lows in recent years. Comparing human beings to natural disasters is both lazy and dehumanizing, but perhaps this tendency to lean on environmental language when describing migration is an unconscious acknowledgement of a deeper truth: much migration from Central America and, for that matter, around the world, is fueled by climate change.

 

Saturday
May182019

The Fault in Their Stars

I got to write about astrology for Topic

It’s easy to see why Silicon Valley is investing millions in these astrology apps and start-ups: they offer up a blend of marketable online content algorithms—the movement of the planets is, after all, easy enough to program into a computer—and aspirational belief. Don’t we all want to think that we could be our better selves, our best selves, if we just knew a little bit more about our essential nature? But traditional astrologers like Miller and Lanyadoo worry that tech’s embrace of astrology is not just about spreading the practice, but co-opting and diluting it. As Miller tells me, “Anyone can hang out a shingle.” 

Wednesday
Mar132019

McGraw Fellowship for Business Reporting

Honored to have been awarded a 2019 McGraw Fellowship in Business Reporting to investigate how dwindling water levels along California’s Feather River intersect with the region’s myriad financial interests. 


Wednesday
Feb202019

The Far Away Brothers Young Adult Edition Now Available for Pre-Order

The Far Away Brothers has been adapted into a Young Adult book. Really excited to get the story of the Flores twins into the hands of high schoolers around the country. It's available for pre-order now (at IndieBound - to support your local independent booksellers - or, of course, at Amazon.) 

Saturday
Nov102018

The Caravan & Climate Change

"Climate change may not be the reason people name when asked why they leave their homes behind and head out into the unknown, but it is an immensely complicating factor, and sometimes a final straw. People don’t always know what has caused their homes to become unlivable—what historical, political, and economic nuances have made it possible for the gangs to grow like weeds and for the dead to pile up in the morgues and for the fields to dry up—but when the stakes are this high, they rarely stick around to find out."

My recent piece for Sierra about the impacts of climate change on migration from Central America. 

Saturday
Nov102018

Root Causes of Migration

Here's a recent opinion piece I wrote in the Toronto Globe and Mail about how even Trump's cruelest attempts to "crackdown" on immigration (and change the very nature of immigration law) will do nothing to deter people fleeing desperate conditions in their homelands. 

Photo by Jose Cabezas - Sandra and her son, Angel, have been staying at the Todo por Ellos migrant shelter in Tapachula since June. She left behind her husband, a gang member, out of fear that her children would inherit the gang life or be killed.

Sunday
Oct282018

Migration in the Age of Trump 

Here's my most recent piece on Central American migration for Politico Magazine, with great thanks to the Pulitzer Center for funding support and to my collaborator, photographer Jose Cabezas (whose stunning photos are included within and below).

Photos by Jose Cabezas

Sunday
Oct282018

Intellectual Freedom Award, National Council for Teachers of English

Thank you to the California Council for Teachers of English and the National Council for Teachers of English for awarding me a 2018 Intellectual Freedom Award. As an educator, this brings me great honor and great joy.