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Resources for Teaching
Reyna Grande's
Across a Hundred Mountains

Author and Book Links

Essay on "Living the American Dream" by Reyna Grande

Essay on "Children Left Behind: The Other Side of the Immigrant Experience" by Reyna Grande 

Reyna Grande's Blog
Texas Public Radio Interview with Reyna Grande
Reyna Grande's Website
Book Review of Across a Hundred Mountains

La Llorona Resources

Across a Hundred Mountains pays homage to the legend of La Llorona, which many resources attribute to the Southwest but is actually a popular legend throughout Latin America.  As with any legend, various versions exist, with some portraying her as a victim and others as someone who haunts near a lake in search of her children as well as those of others. The resources below explain the legend, but notice how each one paints a different picture of La Llorona.  As you review them, consider which version comes closest to the characters in the novel. 
The Handbook of Texas Explanation of La Llorona Legend
Literacy Organization’s Explanation of La Llorona Legend
Site Dedicated to La Llorona
NPR Piece on La Llorona
Images of La Llorona: PowerPoint Presentation

Resources on Border Region and Coyotes

Poor immigrants with no other alternatives eventually have to resort to the desperate measure of relying on Coyotes, who smuggle them into the United States. As you read material from the following resources, consider how Across a Hundred Mountains' portrayal of this desperation and the dangers associated with crossing the border is (or is not) consistent with what is portrayed by today's media.
Illegal Immigration and Enforcement Along the Southwest Border by Pia M. Orrenius
Illegal Immigration and Human Smuggling: by Melinda S. Oja
President Bush Discusses Border Security and Immigration Reform in Arizona
"People Smugglers, Inc.": Time Magazine
"More victims of US immigration policy: 14 Mexicans die in Arizona Desert"
US Immigration Battle Goes Below: BBC News
Library of Congress Site on Immigration--includes interviews and teacher resources
NPR: The Hidden Costs and Benefits of Illegal Immigration
NPR: Arrests at U.S.-Mexico Border Drop

Comprehension and Study Questions

Chapter 1 Adelina (1)

  1. What does Adelina keep from the old man?
  2. How does Adelina recognize the remains of her father?
  3. What is the old man’s profession?
  4. How long has it been since she last saw her father?
  5. What does Adeline think happened to her father?

Chapter 2 Juana (5)

  1. What does Juana’s Apá do for a living?
  2. What does Amá do for a living?
  3. Where does Amá go?  Why?
  4. What does Amá tell Juana to do before she leaves her alone with Anita?

Chapter 3 Adelina (12)

  1. Where does Adelina want to take the object that she’s carrying?

Chapter 4 Juana (13)

  1. What happens to Anita?

Chapter 5 Adelina (15)

  1. Why don’t people want to talk to Adelina?

Chapter 6 Juana (17)

  1. How many children has Amá had?
  2. What happened to each of them?
  3. Whom does Apá blame for what happens to Anita?
  4. Whom does Juana blame?
  5. What is Apá’s goal?

Chapter 7 Adelina (22)

  1. How old is Adelina when she arrives in Los Angeles?
  2. What is she told about the moon?

Chapter 8 Juana (26)
  1. In a letter, what is Apá told about the U.S. (El Otro Lado=The Other Side)?
  2. Where does Apá say the U.S. is located?

Chapter 9 Adelina (30)
  1. How does Don Ernesto greet Adelina?
  2. What does “his” place look like?

Chapter 10 Juana (32)
  1. What story that involves grapes does Apá tell Juana?
  2. Who is Don Elías?  Why does the family owe him money and when is he supposed to get paid?
  3. How does Apá’s mother treat Juana’s mother?
  4. Who is Antonia?
  5. What does Don Elías look like?
  6. Why does Juana wish the owl would leave?

Chapter 11 Adelina (46)

  1. Where does Adelina work?
  2. Who inquires about Adelina when she calls her place of work?  Why?
  3. Whom does Adelina inquire about when she calls her place of work?

Chapter 12 Juana (48)

  1. What do the women in town think happened to Apá?
  2. What grade is Juana in?
  3. How do other students treat her?

Chapter 13 Adelina (54)
  1. What does the old man tell Adelina happened to her father?

Chapter 14 Juana (57)

  1. What does Don Elías physically do to Amá?
  2. What does Don Elías threaten to do to Amá?
  3. Why doesn’t Abuelita Elena like Amá?

Chapter 15 Adelina (63)

  1. What types of jobs has Adelina held while in Los Angeles?

Chapter 16 Juana (65)
  1. Where does Juana get her food?
  2. Describe the food that Juana brings to her mother.
  3. Why is Amá taken away from her house?
  1. What is it about Amá’s childhood that makes her want to make sure that Juana doesn’t have a similar experience?
  2. What does Amá do with the box of plates?

Chapter 17 Adelina (76)
  1. What is it about the young man in the bus that makes him look so familiar to Adelina?

Chapter 18 Juana (78)

  1. Why does Don Elías walk “around town with his chest puffed up like a rooster’s” (79)?
  2. What does Doña Martina ask Juana to do to her mother?
  3. What do Amá and Don Elías argue about?

Chapter 19 Adelina (87)

  1. How does Adelina feel about Dr. Luna?

Chapter 20 Juana (89)

  1. What does Don Elías’s wife want from Amá?
  2. Who is Miguelito?
  3. What does Amá beg Don Elías and his wife to do?

Chapter 21 Adelina (93)
  1. What news does Adelina get about her mother?
  2. What does Adelina vow to do?

Chapter 22 Juana (95)
  1. What does the nigh watchman ask Juana to do?  Why?
  2. What important question does Amá ask Juana?
  3. What does Amá do to Juana?

Chapter 23 Adelina (99)
  1. Why does Diana feel guilty?

Chapter 24 Juana (101)
  1. In what condition is Juana found?
  2. Who is La Llorona?
  3. What does Juana find out about the U.S.?
Chapter 25 Adelina (107)
  1. What advice does Don Ernesto give Adelina?
  2. How does Adelina react to the advice?
  3. Where does Don Ernesto take Adelina?

Chapter 26 Juana (110
  1. Where does Juana get work?
  2. What does she inquire about from one of the customers?
  3. Describe her mother’s physical condition.
  4. What does her mother do during the day?

Chapter 27 Adelina (116)
  1. What does Diana do for a living?
  2. How does Adelina get to sleep?

Chapter 28 Juana (119)
  1. What happens to the puppies?
  2. What do people call Amá?
  3. Where does Juana take Amá away from?

Chapter 29 Adelina (125)
  1. Where does Adelina take Diana Away from?

Chapter 30 Juana (128
  1. What is Semana Santa?
  2. What possibilities about what happened to Apá does Doña Dolores raise?
  3. What does Amá do to her back and why?

Chapter 31 Adelina (134)
  1. Why did Sebastian become a doctor?

Chapter 32  Juana (137)
  1. What is Juana saving for?
  2. Where does her mother go (though she’s not supposed to)?
  3. What does Doña Martina give Juana before she begins her trip?
  4. What happens to the little boy in the bus?
  5. What does Juana stop to do even though she is a hurry?

Chapter 33 Adelina (156)
  1. What promise does Adelina make to Don Ernesto?

Chapter 34 Juana (158)

  1. What “saves” Juana?
  2. How long is Juana’s bus trip to Tijuana?
Chapter 35 Adelina (162)
  1. What does Detective Gonzalez find out?

Chapter 36 Juana (167)
  1. Why is Juana chased?
  2. Whom does she meet?

Chapter 37 Adelina (171)
  1. What does Adelina say to the old man?

Chapter 38 Juana (173)
What role does her mother’s past play in helping Juana decide what she needs to do to find out about Apá?

Chapter 39 Adelina (180)

1.      How old is Adelina at this point?

Chapter 40 Juana (184)

1.      Why does Juana stomp on a cockroach?

Chapter 41 Adelina (187)

1.      What would be Adelina’s gift to her mother?

Chapter 42 Juana (188)

      1.   Who is Gerardo?
      2.      How old does Juana turn?
      3.      Why does Juana say that she hopes that she and her friend will see their brothers soon?

Chapter 43 Adelina (196)

1.      What does Adelina think of the family she meets?

2.    How is Adelina doing in holding up the promise she gave to Don Ernesto?

Chapter 44  Juana (201)

1.      How is Juana’s friend convinced to join her?

2.      What objects does Juana see as she’s walking?

3.      What may have happened to the dead man?

4.      Whom does she see at the end of the chapter?

Chapter 45 Adelina (220)

1.      What story does Adelina tell Diana and why?

Chapter 46 Juana (222)

1.      What is Juana’s plan?

Chapter 47 Adelina (225)

1.      What advice does Sandra give?

2.      What does the cleaning lady tell Adelina’s friend?


Questions from New Pilot
Naturalization Test to Become U.S. Citizen

Not all naturalization applicants can take the pilot naturalization test. Only certain applicants interviewing at a few USCIS locations during the pilot period can take it.  USCIS will mail letters to applicants who can take the test pilot several weeks before their interview date. Applicants who do not receive such a letter should prepare to take the current naturalization test. Information on the current naturalization test can be found on pages 56-62 of A Guide to Naturalization. For additional materials you can use to prepare for the current naturalization test, please see the related links to the right. 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to pilot 142 U.S. history and government questions in connection with the naturalization test redesign project. USCIS will administer the pilot test to about 6,000 volunteer citizenship applicants in 10 cities beginning in early 2007.

USCIS included new questions that focus on the concepts of democracy and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. In designing the new test, USCIS received assistance and worked with test development contractors, U.S. history and government scholars, and English as a Second Language experts. USCIS also sought input from a variety of stakeholders, including immigrant advocacy groups, citizenship instructors and District Adjudications Officers.

The pilot will allow USCIS to work out any problems and refine the test before it is fully implemented nationwide in the spring of 2008.

During the trial period, volunteer applicants who choose to take the pilot test can immediately take the current test if they incorrectly answer a pilot question. To pass, applicants will have to correctly answer six of 10 selected questions. The 10 pilot test sites are: Albany, NY; Boston, MA; Charleston, SC; Denver, CO; El Paso, TX; Kansas City, MO; Miami, FL; San Antonio, TX; Tucson, AZ; and Yakima, WA.

*If you are 65 years old or older and have been a legal permanent resident of the United States for 20 or more years, you may study just the questions that have been marked with an asterisk.

Citizenship Pilot Test Questions
Click Here for Answers


A: Principles of American Democracy

1. Name one important idea found in the Declaration of Independence.

2. What is the supreme law of the land? *

3. What does the Constitution do?

4. What does “We the People” mean in the Constitution?

5. What do we call changes to the Constitution?

6. What is an amendment?

7. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?

8. Name one right or freedom from the First Amendment. *

9. How many amendments does the Constitution have?

10. What did the Declaration of Independence do?

11. What does freedom of religion mean?

12. What type of economic system does the U.S. have?

B: System of Government

13. What are the three branches or parts of the government?

14. Name one branch or part of the government.

15. Who is in charge of the executive branch?

16. Who makes federal laws?

17. What are the two parts of the United States Congress?

18. How many United States Senators are there?

19. We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years? *

20. Name your state’s two U.S. Senators. *
21. How many U.S. Senators does each state have?
22. The House of Representatives has how many voting members? *

23. We elect a U.S. Representative for how many years?

24. Name your U.S. Representative.

25. Who does a U.S. Senator represent?

26. Who does a U.S. Representative represent?
27. What decides each state’s number of U.S. Representatives?
28. How is each state’s number of Representatives decided?
29. Why do we have three branches of government? *

30. Name one example of checks and balances.
31. We elect a President for how many years?
32. How old must a President be?
33. To become President of the United States, what must the person be at birth?
34. Who is the President now?
35. What is the name of the President of the United States?
36. Who is the Vice President now?
37. What is the name of the Vice President of the United States?
38. If the President can no longer serve, who becomes President?
39. Who becomes President if both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve?
40. Who is the Commander-in-Chief of the military?
41. How many full terms can a President serve?
42. Who signs bills to become laws?
43. Who vetoes bills?
44. What is a veto?

45. What does the President’s Cabinet do? *
46. Name two Cabinet-level positions.
47. What Cabinet-level agency advises the President on foreign policy?
48. What does the judicial branch do? *
49. Who confirms Supreme Court justices?
50. Who is the Chief Justice of the United States?
51. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?
52. Who nominates justices to the Supreme Court?
53. Name one thing only the federal government can do.
54. What is one thing a state government can do?
55. What does it mean that the U.S. Constitution is a constitution of limited powers?
56. Who is the Governor of your state?
57. What is the capital (or capital city) of your state?
58. What are the two major political parties in the U.S. today?
59. What is the highest court in the U.S.?
60. What is the majority political party in the House of Representatives now? *
61. What is the political party of the majority in the Senate now?
62. What is the political party of the President now?
63. Who is the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?
64. Who is the Senate Majority Leader now? *
65. In what month are general presidential elections held in the United States?

66. When must all males register for the Selective Service?
67. Who is the Secretary of State now?

68. Who is the Attorney General now?

69. Is the current President in his first or second term? *
C: Rule of Law

70. What is self-government?
71. Who governs the people in a self-governed country?
72. What is the “rule of law”?
73. What are “inalienable rights”?
D: Rights and Responsibilities

74. There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them.
75. Name one responsibility that is only for United States citizens.
76. Name two rights that are only for United States citizens.
77. Name two rights of everyone living in the U.S.
78. What is the Pledge of Allegiance?
79. Name one promise you make when you say the Oath of Allegiance.
80. Who can vote in the U.S. presidential elections?
81. Name two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy.
82. When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms?
83. Name two of the natural, or inalienable, rights in the Declaration of Independence.

84. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
85. When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?
86. Name one reason why the colonists came to America?
87. What happened at the Constitutional Convention? *
88. Why did the colonists fight the British?
89. When was the Constitution drafted?
90. There are 13 original states. Name three.
91. What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves?
92. Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived?
93. Where did most of America’s colonists come from before the Revolution? *
94. Why were the colonists upset with the British government?
95. Name one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for.
96. Who is called the “Father of Our Country”?
97. Who was the first President?
98. Name one of the writers of the Federalist Papers? *
99. What group of essays supported passage of the U.S. Constitution?
B: 1800s

100. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1800s. *
101. What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?
102. What country sold the Louisiana Territory to the United States?
103. In 1803, the United States bought a large amount of land from France. Where was that land?
104. Name one of the things that Abraham Lincoln did.
105. Name the U.S. war between the North and the South. *
106. Name one problem that led to the Civil War.
107. What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?
108. What did the abolitionists try to end before the Civil War?
109. What did Susan B. Anthony do?
C: Recent American History and Other Important Historical Information

110. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1900s.
111. Who was President during World War I?
112. The United States fought Japan, Germany, and Italy during which war?
113. What was the main concern of the United States during the Cold War?
114. What major event happened on September 11, 2001, in the United States?
115. What international organization was established after World War II (WWII) to keep the world at peace?

116. What alliance of North America and European countries was created during the Cold War?
117. Who was President during the Great Depression and World War II? *
118. Which U.S. World War II general later became President?
119. What did Martin Luther King, Jr. do?
120. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream for America. What was his dream?
121. What movement tried to end racial discrimination?
122. Name one of the major American Indian tribes in the United States.

A: Geography

123. Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.
124. What ocean is on the west coast of the United States?
125. What country is on the northern border of the United States?
126. Where is the Grand Canyon?
127. Where is the Statue of Liberty?
128. What country is on the southern border of the United States?
129. Name one large mountain range in the United States.
130. What is the tallest mountain in the United States?
131. Name one U.S. territory.
132. Name the state that is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
133. Name one state that borders Canada. *
134. Name one state that borders on Mexico.

135. What is the capital of the U.S.?
B: Symbols

136. Why does the flag have 13 stripes?
137. Why do we have 13 stripes on the flag? *
138. Why does the flag have 50 stars?
139. What is the name of the National Anthem?
C: Holidays

140. On the Fourth of July we celebrate independence from what country?
141. When do we celebrate Independence Day?
142. Name two national U.S. holidays.



Books on Latino Immigration & La Llorona
From Booklist: So many illegal immigrants die in the desert Southwest of the U.S. that only notorious catastrophes make headlines. Urrea reconstructs one such incident in the Sonoran Desert, the ordeal of sun and thirst of two dozen men in May 2001, half of whom suffered excruciating deaths. They came from Vera Cruz; their so-called guide came from Guadalajara. Jesus Lopez Ramos was no master of orienteering, however, just an expendable bottom-feeder in the border's human-smuggling racket. Tracing their lives and the routes to the border, Urrea adopts a slangy, surreal style in which the desert landscape shimmers and distorts, while in desiccated border settlements criminals, officials, and vigilantes patrol for human cargo such as the men from Vera Cruz. The imaginative license Urrea takes, paralleling the laconic facts of the case that he incorporates into his narrative, produces a powerful, almost diabolical impression of the disaster and the exploitative conditions at the border. Urrea shows immigration policy on the human level. Gilbert Taylor Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
From Publishers Weekly: Soon to be turned into an HBO dramatic series, Nazario's account of a 17-year-old boy's harrowing attempt to find his mother in America won two Pulitzer Prizes when it first came out in the Los Angeles Times. Greatly expanded with fresh research, the story also makes a gripping book, one that viscerally conveys the experience of illegal immigration from Central America. Enrique's mother, Lourdes, left him in Honduras when he was five years old because she could barely afford to feed him and his sister, much less send them to school. Her plan was to sneak into the United States for a few years, work hard, send and save money, then move back to Honduras to be with her children. But 12 years later, she was still living in the U.S. and wiring money home. That's when Enrique became one of the thousands of children and teens who try to enter the U.S. illegally each year. Riding on the tops of freight trains through Mexico, these young migrants are preyed upon by gangsters and corrupt government officials. The breadth and depth of Nazario's research into this phenomenon is astounding, and she has crafted her findings into a story that is at once moving and polemical. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb. 28) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From School Library Journal: Grade 6-9-Ryan uses the experiences of her own Mexican grandmother as the basis for this compelling story of immigration and assimilation, not only to a new country but also into a different social class. Esperanza's expectation that her 13th birthday will be celebrated with all the material pleasures and folk elements of her previous years is shattered when her father is murdered by bandits. His powerful stepbrothers then hold her mother as a social and economic hostage, wanting to force her remarriage to one of them, and go so far as to burn down the family home. Esperanza's mother then decides to join the cook and gardener and their son as they move to the United States and work in California's agricultural industry. They embark on a new way of life, away from the uncles, and Esperanza unwillingly enters a world where she is no longer a princess but a worker. Set against the multiethnic, labor-organizing era of the Depression, the story of Esperanza remaking herself is satisfyingly complete, including dire illness and a difficult romance.  Easy to booktalk, useful in classroom discussions, and accessible as pleasure reading, this well-written novel belongs in all collections.Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Anzaldúa (Friends from the Other Side, 1993, etc.) offers a feminist interpretation of the familiar Mexican legend of la Llorona, the sobbing ghost woman who steals children at night. Night has already fallen when Prietita, lost in the Texas woods while seeking the plant that will cure her mother, hears a woman crying. In spite of her grandmother's frightening stories about the ghost woman, Prietita forces herself to go to her, and in the process discovers that ghosts--and probably people, too--aren't always what others think. The ghost woman benevolently guides Prietita to the right plant and then out of the woods. The text appears in both Spanish and English; dramatic illustrations with the bold forms of mural art completely fill each spread, laden with southwestern flora and Mexican motifs. (Picture book. 4-9) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
From the Inside Flap
"A new interpretive map of the borderlands as space, trope, meaning, and creative landscape inhabited and reimagined by Mexican and Mexican American peoples. Leon weaves together saints, healers, writers, movements and ideas with skill, bringing a fresh critical mind to Chicano/Latino and Religious studies."--David Carrasco, Neil L. Rudenstine Professor of the Study of Latin America, Harvard University
From Amazon:  No One Is Illegal debunks the leading ideas behind the often violent right-wing backlash against immigrants.
This is a new novel written by a Sergeant Major currently serving in the 1st Battalion 4th Marines.
From Amazon: The Line Between Us explores the history of U.S-Mexican relations and the roots of Mexican immigration, all in the context of the global economy. And it shows how teachers can help students understand the immigrant experience and the drama of border life. But The Line Between Us is about more than Mexican immigration and border issues. It's about imaginative and creative teaching that gets students to care about the world. Using role plays, stories, poetry, improvisations, simulations and video, veteran teacher Bill Bigelow demonstrates how to combine lively teaching with critical analysis.

Other Resources

Films About Latino Immigration
Try the FREE surname search at the Origins Network and trace your origins online
For those who want to search family history:


Copyright 2006 design and content by John S. Christie and Jose B. Gonzalez
Copyright 2006 Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature, Pearson Education, Inc.
Copyright 2006 Latino Fiction and the Modernist Imagination, John S. Christie
Last Updated:
February 26, 2011

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