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When Herstory first published Brave Journeys in 2018, we could only imagine the direction this book would take us and the real impact these stories would have on our classroom communities. For the past three years, this bilingual collection of deeply moving stories by young people who crossed the US-Mexico border alone has served as an exemplary text for several local school districts in preparation for the NY Regents Exam. Educators have used these 15 first-person stories to demonstrate the characteristics of narrative writing, to facilitate language learning, and to teach students the relationship between textual and emotional literacy. Most importantly, it has empowered newcomer students as they use memoir to process their immigration experiences and work through the confusion and guilt of leaving loved ones behind, all while inspiring them to claim their narratives as a way to connect with fellow students.

This past year, the Herstory team designed an online instructor’s guide for Long Island’s teachers that includes several pedagogical resources: bilingual summaries of each story as printable PDFs; video interviews with the book’s young authors; professional development videos and curricular materials; and story-by-story study guides that highlight core learning standards. We have been able to offer this dynamic online resource guide free of charge because of a generous grant from the Long Island Community Foundation. This pedagogical resource is currently in use in Westbury,Patchogue/Medford, Long Beach, Hempstead and Central 

Islip School districts, but our dream is to expand Brave Journeys and its accompanying guide into all our schools. On November 4, Herstory presented this goal at the NY State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages conference, where former NYS TESOL president Susanne Marcus, now an active member of our Herstory team, shared how using Brave Journeys in classrooms far exceeds any measurable outcomes of standardized testing; it also infuses empathy, trust, and inclusion into our classrooms and communities by embracing the whole self of our diverse students and their families.


Moving forward into 2022…we are excited to bring Brave Journeys into Nassau’s BOCES Twilight Alternative Schools program in Uniondale, Glen Cove, and Freeport. We invite you to walk with us on this path forward with us. 


Read a blog post showcasing the study guide by Susanne Marcus for First Book

"The safest place for my immigrant students to explore their emotions is in their English Language Learner (ELL) classroom, the one full of others who are facing the same hurdles and challenges. In ELL classes, it’s an unspoken fact that each student has taken a deep journey far from loved ones, only to arrive in a new place with new ways of communicating, of eating, of dressing, of being." read more...



We are thrilled, and also humbled, to anonymously share the stories of volunteer high school newcomer students who agreed to write their journeys into this land, the land of liberty. I had the privilege of watching as they shaped these stories with voices that must not be dismissed. We publish this collection in a celebration of our young heroes whose voices and names will be declared someday out loud, breaking any and every oppressive wall, united in one voice and one heart.

Dafny Irizarry, founder and president of Long Island Latino Teachers Association (LILTA)



Storytelling is the passageway that enables us to share and preserve our culture and social norms. It humanizes the issue and is a way of instilling and strengthening our moral values. Storytelling ​can transform our perception of the world. This book is a tool that allows us to step into a world that teaches us the power of the human spirit.


Maryann Sinclair Slutsky, executive director of Long Island Wins  

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Helen Dorado Alessi shares Brave Journeys with her students 

Click here to read an article- “Teacher to Teacher” by Dawn Attard, a New York City ELA high school teacher whose class came awake with the reading of Brave Journeys. 

Help us achieve our dream to get this book into all students’ hands.

Now available along with a full toolkit for teachers and school counselors here on this website, thanks to a generous grant from Long Island Community Foundation.

A breathtaking collection of 15 stories by young people, ages 14-17, who risked their lives crossing borders. The majority crossed mountains and deserts and rivers alone. A few came with relatives by plane. A testimony to the resilience of the human spirit, which no reader will ever forget. 


Painting created by Gwynne Duncan-

Click here to listen to a selection from our latest book,
Brave Journeys/Pasos Valientes
When the Heart and Mind Don’t Agree

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