Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum
Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum
Santiago's first book, the memoir When I Was Puerto Rican, was published in 1993 and received great critical praise. Her first novel, America's Dream, followed in 1997. A year later, she published Almost a Woman, a second memoir that took up her life story at the point at which When I Was Puerto Rican ended.
Santiago writes: "I suppose that my life today is about looking at and trying to come to terms with ifs. Human beings are obsessed with the question of 'who am I'? For someone like me, issues of identity are weighted and complicated by the event that has defined who I have become, because it was the migration from Puerto Rico to the United States that made me who I am.
"I was born in one place (Villa Palmeras) at a specific historical time (1948). I was raised in a rural environment (Macún, Toa Baja) that was becoming urbanized and developed to improve the island's infrastructure (a highway destroyed most of our barrio). My first words were in Spanish, a language that, in Puerto Rico, was degrading into Spanglish. I was raised to conform to a culturally specific behavior of a time, a place, a language. It all changed in less than a day, and has had repercussions for the rest of my life.
"I was a different person in Puerto Rico from the one I became in the United States. Not better, not worse -- different."
In addition to her writing, Santiago is an active volunteer for public libraries, for arts programs for adolescents, and for battered women and their children. She lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband and two children.
Works by the Author