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Publisher's Summary

NPR’s Best Books of 2020

BookPage’s Best Books of 2020

Real Simple’s Best Books of 2020

Boston.com readers voted one of Best Books of 2020

“Anyone striving to understand and improve this country should read her story.” (Gloria Steinem, author of My Life on the Road)

The Emmy Award-winning journalist and anchor of NPR’s Latino USA tells the story of immigration in America through her family’s experiences and decades of reporting, painting an unflinching portrait of a country in crisis in this memoir that is “quite simply beautiful, written in Maria Hinojosa’s honest, passionate voice” (BookPage).

Maria Hinojosa is an award-winning journalist who, for nearly 30 years, has reported on stories and communities in America that often go ignored by the mainstream media - from tales of hope in the South Bronx to the unseen victims of the war on terror and the first detention camps in the US. Best-selling author Julia Álvarez has called her “one of the most important, respected, and beloved cultural leaders in the Latinx community”.

In Once I Was You, Maria shares her intimate experience growing up Mexican American on the South Side of Chicago. She offers a personal and illuminating account of how the rhetoric around immigration has not only long informed American attitudes toward outsiders, but also sanctioned willful negligence and profiteering at the expense of our country’s most vulnerable populations - charging us with the broken system we have today.

An urgent call to fellow Americans to open their eyes to the immigration crisis and understand that it affects us all, this honest and heartrending memoir paints a vivid portrait of how we got here and what it means to be a survivor, a feminist, a citizen, and a journalist who owns her voice while striving for the truth.

Also available in Spanish as Una vez fui tú

©2020 Maria Hinojosa (P)2020 Simon & Schuster Audio

Featured Article: Listen to 10 Biographies & Memoirs of Powerful Latino Voices


In modern America, the interchangeable use of the words "Hispanic" and "Latino" blends two identities that are inherently unique in their own right. While Hispanic refers to Spanish language, Latinx generally denotes geography. This collection seeks to embody a few Latinx narratives from authors descended from Latin America. These Latinos have excelled in their chosen fields and achieved extraordinary things.

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What listeners say about Once I Was You

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Such a good book!!

María Hinojosa reads the book herself which feels like she’s talking to you on the couch. She tells her life story,while also going deep into immigration history in the United States and also shares stories from people she’s come across. I didn’t even know much about her before hearing the book but was interested in the immigration information, however I got so much more than I expected from this book. I recommend it to everyone!

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Truly beautiful story!

Thank you so much, Maria for sharing your story. For being so vulnerable. You’re an inspiration. Viva la Raza!!

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highly recommend

very inspiring life story of resilience and dedication to serve immigrant communities. beautiful story telling and guide to inspiring journalists.

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Powerful

This book was full of powerful stories that very few are willing to share. It shows the injustice of the innocent people fighting to have a better life for themselves. It uncovers the disgusting nature of people who use power to hurt women and children. Thank you Maria for sharing your stories, and being fearless woman and narrarator you are..

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Of course Maria Hinojosa would blow us away

Maria Hinojosa, host of Latino USA and In The Thick, tells her story with passion and compassion - drawing the listener in and helping us understand what makes her such a brilliant journalist.

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phenomenal!

que inspiración para seguir luchando para que nuestra gente sea liberada. Hinojosa, me inspiraste y llenaste de mucha información importante para seguir luchando. gracias por escribir este libro.

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Poignant and expertly written.

I’ve admired Maria’s work for many years now but this book has taken my admiration to whole ‘nother level. The way she tied her experiences to emotions you cant help but empathize with and historical pieces on the Latinx experience. Groundbreaking and unforgettable. Easily in my top 5 favorites books EVER.

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Fantastic!

This was a very sensitive, raw, and beautiful book! It was very telling and really opened up my eyes too many things I did not know. It actually brought tears to my eyes.


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opuente muy eyes

I absolutely loved this book! the best book I have read so far. it really opened my eyes about the history of immigration in the United States. I seriously believe this is a book everyone should read. you are such an inspiration and would love to follow your work.

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Overwhelming ❗️

This book broke my heart but also gave me hope for the day when the entire world will strive to understand one another❗️