Iowa Writing Project

Hispantic Story Project

Featured Stories

A Night to Cherish/Una Noche para Acariciar The depiction of a Guatemalan dance in the

Garden PhotoThe depiction of a Guatemalan dance in the 1950s highlights the friendship between adolescent girls and the excitement that comes with new relationships. The description of the Guatemalan dance is strikingly similar to what one might expect from a similar event in the U.S., especially with the many Elvis Presley references. It goes to show that even if our neighbors appear to be very different from us, we probably have more in common with them than we realize.

Daniel’s Journey/El Recorrido de Daniel In Mexico, tortillas, an essential part of any Mexican meal, are bought fresh daily. This is the story of a young boy named Daniel Sanchez

In Mexico, tortillas, an essential part of any Mexican meal, are bought fresh daily. This is the story of a young boy named Daniel Sanchez Montiel who made daily trips to the local tortillería, where fresh tortillas are made and sold by the kilo. On his way to the tortillería, Daniel experiences several aspects of Mexican culture, including street games, long lines at the tortillería, and friendly conversations, which are exhibited in this story.


Based on the true experiences of a young mother living in Northwest Iowa, this story describes the hardships that motivated Maria to live separated from her family, and the daily struggles she endures. It is hard to believe that a young mother of 20 would be faced with the heart-wrenching decision of leaving one of her children behind in her native country, but this is common in immigrant families.


This first-person narrative tells of one immigrant's difficulties of attending an American public school. The newly-arrived Nicaraguan immigrant reveals her desire to have her peers understand her, but demonstrates the doubts she has about their comprehension of the complicated past that led her family to move to the U.S.

The Raid/La Redada

This story takes the reader to a dairy farm in Northwest Iowa to experience the physical exertion required from its employees, like Claudia, who describes the hardworking and good nature of her immigrant co-worker, Felipe. She recalls the horrifying day that the Immigration officer comes to the farm to arrest and deport Felipe. Readers learn how Felipe reacts and what he does to ensure the safety of his family. The story is based on a raid that took place in Northwest Iowa in the winter of 2008, and although the names of the people are made up, the story of tragedy, heartache, and determination is true.

Hands/Las Manos

During a parent-teacher conference, a western Iowa school teacher realizes the similarities between her own family and those of the immigrant students in her ESL class. Faustino, the father of one of her Hispanic students, had hands that were rough and visibly scarred, and displayed his determination to make a good life for his family through hard-work and dedication, much like her own father, whose hands were calloused and worn.

Lupe's Story/La Historia de Lupe

The Quinceañera is a long-held Mexican tradition that celebrates a girl's fifteenth birthday and entrance into womanhood. During this story, Lupe travels from her home in the U.S. to Mexico to attend the Quinceañera of her niece. Lupe strongly cherishes the Mexican tradition, but she worries that her daughter's exposure to and partial adoption of American values may cause her not to see the value of her own upcoming Quinceañera.

Bilingual and Spanish files coming soon!

The Dove/La Paloma

Portrayed in this story are the personal histories of a young 15-year old woman from Acapulco and a 19-year old man that lived in Baja, California. They each make the difficult decision to leave the hardships and lack of opportunities in Mexico in search of a better life in the United States, where they meet and eventually marry in Iowa. Although they both have family waiting for them in the United States, their decisions mean leaving behind all that is familiar to them in order to achieve their dreams of obtaining an education and economic security.

Bilingual and Spanish files coming soon!