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Ernesto Cisneros

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"Life is but a book and you are the author. Make it epic."



Author Bio:

Ernesto Cisneros is the nationally acclaimed author of EFRÉN DIVIDED. He was born and raised in Santa Ana, California, where he still teaches.  As an author, he believes in providing today’s youth with an honest depiction of characters with whom they can identify.

EFRÉN DIVIDED is the winner of the prestigious Pura Belpré Medal (2020), the Poppy Award in MG (2021), 2 International Latino Book Awards, as well as an SCBWI Crystal Kite Award (2021).

FALLING SHORT is his sophomore book. It has garnered three starred reviews and the recipient of two International Latino Book Awards, and numerous "Best of 2022" Lists.

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A 12 year old boy struggles to make sense of the world while trying to hold the family together after his mother is deported.


“Authentically told, and interwoven with hope, strength, and beauty. This book is a gift to the world.”


— Sarah Scheerger, author of

Operation Frog Effect

“A stunning, masterful, and timely debut.”

—David Bowles, author of They Call Me Güero  and The Chupacabras of the Rio Grande

“A beautiful seed of heartbreak and joy!”

— Aida Salazar, author of

The Moon Within and Land of the Cranes

“A song sung for children of immigrants. A corrido in their honor.”

—Isabel Quintero, author of Gabi, a Girl in Pieces and Mi Papi Has a Motorcycle

"This debut announces an important new writer on the scene."

— Fred Aceves, author of The Closest I've Come & The New David Espinoza

"Efrén Divided will find its way straight into your heart, even as it is breaking. "

— Matt Mendez, author of Barely Missing Everything and Twitching Heart 

“Cisneros handles the timely subject matter with heart, depth, and authenticity."

—Angela Cervantes, author of Gaby, Lost and Found and Lety Out Loud 

"Efrén Divided feels more than important—it feels essential as we continue to weave diverse narratives into the cloth of the country we call home.”

— Guadalupe García McCall, author of Under the Mesquite and Summer of the  Mariposas

“Will inspire young people to action, activism, and change in their communities.”

— e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, author of Fat Angie

“A golden door into crucial conversations we need to have in our classrooms about equity and human rights.”

— NoNieqa Ramos, author of The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary and The Truth Is

“A soaring tale of resilience.”

— Lilliam Rivera, author of

Dealing in Dreams and

The Education of Margot Sanchez

“A call to fight for the world as it should be.”

—Adrianna Cuevas, author of The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez

“A moving portrayal of the shame, fear, and uncertainty of a family ripped apart.”

— Aimée Medina Carr, author of

River of Love

"From the opening pages I found myself completely immersed in a world so different from mine, yet just a neighborhood away."

--Author/Illustrator Steve Bjorkman

See my interview

with Mr. John Schu

Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic, Lecturer at Rutgers, and Newbery Committee member (2014).


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I am a 20-year veteran teacher currently serving the city of Santa Ana: the colorful but mostly dismissed section of Orange County, California.  I teach reading and writing to local students at an inner-city intermediate school.  

I hold an English degree from the University of California, Irvine; a teaching credential from California State University, Long Beach; as well as a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from National University.

News and Events


MARCH 15, 2022

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These are the authors who I not only admire, but who have helped pave the road for others like me to follow.

Meg Medina
Meg Medina

Meg Medina is a very talented Latina author (she's also super nice and helpful). Her books, Yaqui Delgado Wants To Kick Your Ass and Burn, Baby, Burn are among my favorites.

press to zoom
Matt de la Pena
Matt de la Pena

Here's Newbery Award Winning author, Matt de la Pena. His work taught me about writing about interesting/complex characters who are not necessarily likeable (not right away).

press to zoom
Luis J. Rodriguez
Luis J. Rodriguez

Luis J. Rodriguez, author of best-selling memoir, ALWAYS RUNNING. Very talented poet, writer, and activist.

press to zoom
Meg Medina
Meg Medina

Meg Medina is a very talented Latina author (she's also super nice and helpful). Her books, Yaqui Delgado Wants To Kick Your Ass and Burn, Baby, Burn are among my favorites.

press to zoom
Hall of Fame


For event inquires, please Contact me directly at: or

For any media inquiries, please contact agent Deborah Warren of East West Literary Agency LLC

Any other inquires:

Jacquelynn Burke

Associate Director, Publicity | HarperCollins Children's Books
195 Broadway, 21st Floor | New York, NY 10007


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