Long Beach Public Library Foundation

Long Beach Leaders are Readers M. Lissette Flores, Past President and Board Member

Long Beach Leaders are Readers is our new series in which leaders in our community share recommended reads. In celebration of Latino Heritage Month, M. Lissette Flores has shared the following reading recommendation. Enjoy!

The House on Mango Street

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, first published in 1984

It’s a novel of short stories. The stories are both heart wrenching and warming all at once. They are about a young girl name Esperanza coming to terms with her culture, and finding, defining and inventing herself along the way.

I first read this book in college and remember for the first time that what I felt and saw around me was real and not a figment of my imagination – women being held back by inequality, how racism prevents certain communities from opportunities which often leads to poverty and violence, which are the tenets of social inequity. All these feelings I could never articulate I found present in The House on Mango Street.

My favorite story is titled Sally: “Sally, do you sometimes wish you didn’t have to go home?… and maybe your feet would stop in front of a house, a nice one with flowers and big windows and steps for you to climb two by two upstairs to where a room is waiting for you. And if you opened the little window… all the sky would come in. There would be no nosy neighbors watching, no motorcycles and cars, no sheets and towels and laundry. Only trees and more trees and plenty of blue sky. And you could laugh, Sally. And you could go to sleep and wake up and never have to think who likes and doesn’t like you. You could close your eyes and you wouldn’t have to worry what people said because you never belonged here anyway and nobody could make you sad and nobody would think you’re strange because you like to dream and dream… without someone thinking you are bad, without somebody saying it’s wrong, without the whole world waiting for you to make a mistake when all you wanted, all you wanted, Sally, was to love and to love and to love and to love, and no one could call that crazy.”

This book changed my life and allowed me to find my voice. I continue to find my voice on my equity, diversity, and inclusion journey. I love that this book is now introduced at the high school level. The young girl’s voice, Esperanza, will always remain in my heart. There is hope.

Love & Happy Reading,
M. Lissette Flores
LB Public Library Foundation Board Member

“Ser Cultos Para Ser Libres.”
Translated: “To be educated is the only way to be free.”
A quote attributed to José Martí, a Cuban poet.