Aja Y. Martinez, PhD, Assistant Professor
Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition, Syracuse University
"As a fierce advocate for story as research, and lived experience as data, I cannot stress enough the great importance of bearing witness to stories like Liliana’s. Too often the mainstream narratives of immigration—saturated with race, class, and gender informed prejudices—prevent US audiences from seeing the humanity and the very real lived precarious circumstances that would prompt a child to make a life threatening and life changing decision to travel as an unaccompanied minor into the north. Stories like Liliana’s counter these inhumane narratives that would cast migrants and refugees as “drug dealers and rapists,” and instead offers US audiences a perspective infused with the genuine human experience involved in migration—a perspective sorely in need during these perilous times."
Youth Organizer and DACA recipient
Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition
"This book shares a lot of history, pain, and the reality of making hard decisions. I felt the words come to life as I learned more about Liliana. I had the pleasure to know her in La Puerta Abierta Un Sueño al Futuro group, where we spent many afternoons laughing, crying and exploring our immigrant identities and stories.
While Immigrants’ experiences are often told by others, Liliana shares her personal experience of vulnerability, resilience and perseverance in the face of uncertainty. She is a strong and remarkable woman, and I am very proud of her. "
Advocacy and Policy Counsel for Immigrants' Rights
American Civil Liberties Union
"This book is essential reading for anyone seeking to go beyond headlines and political posturing to understand who unaccompanied minors are and why these young migrants risk everything to try and forge a better life in the United States. The story Liliana shares is extraordinary: a fourteen year old girl with one year of education and little preparation (beyond buying her first pair of shoes) overcomes one obstacle after another to complete one of the world's most perilous journeys. Yet it is also heartbreakingly ordinary, bearing much in common with tens of thousands of other children who have in recent years fled violence, abuse, and extreme poverty, only to suffer further hardship at the hands of a US government that treats them as threats rather than child survivors of trauma. Her story is also a testimony to what is good in our society—of the people who made her feel welcome and safe, and nurtured her as she pursued her dream. At a time when politics has reached new levels of divisiveness, voices like Liliana’s remind us all of our shared humanity and dreams. "
"Dreams and Nightmares / Sueños y Pesadillas is a story of horror and of hope, perils and persistence, injustice and inspiration. It should be shared far and wide, particularly with the tens of thousands of teachers across the country who work every day with students who have fled their homes in search of safety and freedom. Though their circumstances and journeys may differ in detail, be more or less fraught with danger, these unaccompanied minors have all felt a desperation great enough to risk leaving home, family and familiar surroundings to come to this country with no guarantee of arrival or welcome. I am humbled by Liliana’s grace, strength and unyielding desire for dignity and a better life. We should all be grateful for the very real face she puts on the realities of migration around the world."
Nancy L Commins, Ph.D.,Clinical Professor
Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Education
School of Education & Human Development, University of Colorado Denver.
Kelly Virgin, teacher
Kennett Square High School, Pennsylvania
"I've been teaching in a high school with a large immigrant population for the past 12 years, and am very excited to be able share Dreams and Nightmares / Sueños y Pesadillas with my students. Liliana's harrowing and brave experience brought me to tears. She adds an important voice to a too often silenced community. My students, both immigrant and non-, will benefit greatly from reading her encouraging tale. Whether they see a mirror or a window in her impoverished upbringing, her dangerous, two-thousand-mile journey across a country, and her uncertain start to a new life here in America, they are sure to be touched by her words and inspired by her bravery. Liliana proves how cathartic and empowering it is to tell your own story and to truly be heard in return.
Liliana's story provides middle and high school students an opportunity to explore the important theme of the place of new immigrants in our community. I strongly urge my fellow teachers to incorporate Sueños y Pesadillas / Dreams and Nightmares into their curriculum."