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Javier Zamora recommends 5 books to read after 'Solito'

Including other memoirs about the immigrant experience.

Jenna Bush Hager selected the memoir "Solito" for her September Read With Jenna pick. As a boy, author Javier Zamora made a trek from El Salvador to the United States to join his parents. What was supposed to be two-week journey became two months of unpredictability, with no family or loved ones around. Now 31, Zamora had to channel his 9-year-old self for the book, and refaced trauma while doing so.

'Solito' by Javier Zamora

After finishing the harrowing book (and checking out this reader's guide), you may be interested in other stories. With that in mind, Zamora hand-selected a few picks, including three books written by immigrants and two by children of immigrants from El Salvador, and stopped by the 3rd hour of TODAY to share them.

Speaking to TODAY earlier this year, Zamora said he had two intentions with his memoir. First, that the book would be an "instrument of change and will be a start to a conversation about what so many families sacrifice."

Zamora also said he hoped the book landed among fellow immigrants. “I hope that my story makes it OK for us immigrants to begin to look at our trauma and look at it and with wanting and knowing that there is healing,” he said.

The books he chose are all in that same vein. Below, find a few books to read after "Solito."

"The Distance Between Us," by Reyna Grande

Like Zamora, Reyna Grande grew up without her parents' physical presence, but with ubiquitous reminders of them — and the journey she will take, one day, to meet them. And like "Solito," this memoir is narrated through the eyes of Grande's younger self.

Her parents crossed over from Mexico to the United States, leaving Grande and her siblings in their grandmother's care. "The Distance Between Us" shows the lingering effects of family separation and the core of love that motivates these actions.

"Somewhere We Are Human," by Reyna Grande and Sonia Guiñansaca

Reyna Grande, author of "The Distance Between Us," co-edited this polyphonous essay collection. The 41 pieces are written by an array of people — writers, artists, and activists — all sharing one quality: They are undocumented.

"Children of the Land," by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Now a poet and writer, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo immigrated from Mexico to the United States when he was five. This memoir not as much about the crossing into the United States but everything that came after — including growing up under the fear that comes with with living as an undocumented person.

"Unforgetting," by Roberto Lovato

Speaking to Jenna, Zamora explained the reasoning behind his parents' decision to leave came down to the violence they faced in El Salvador during the Civil War. Roberto Lovato grew up in California, but amid Salvadoran gangs that were forming; violence impacted his childhood, too. As an adult, he returned to El Salvador to join the guerilla movement against the U.S.-backed, fascist military government. The book blends history with Lovato's lived experience and all its many intersections.

"Brown Neon," by Raquel Gutiérrez

This essay collection, released in 2022, is an intellectual read touching on LGBTQ history, butch identity, activism, immigration geography and art. Gutiérrez, Zamora said, navigates conversations about queerness, survival, and finding home with utter brilliance. Paying homage to their Brown, butch lineage, Raquel investigates the ways in which we create our own families and find home in the most unlikely of places.