Maria Hinojosa’s Once I Was You, other books to empower young readers

Once I Was You: Finding My Voice and Passing the Mic by Maria Hinojosa.  Released 2022.

Writing a book for young readers was a daunting achievement for Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa, known for her reporting on deportation, immigration detention and other social justice issues. Still, she saw writing Once I Was You: Finding My Voice and Passing the Mic (Simon & Schuster for Young Readers, pp. 272, available now) as an opportunity to empower future generations.

“Kids today are witnessing the Jan. 6 committee hearing, they’re processing the fact that there was an attempted coup,” Hinojosa told USA TODAY. “They know what it means (to them) that there was a riot on Capitol Hill, that democracy is in jeopardy, that George Floyd was murdered.”

Using her 10-year-old self helped Hinojosa write the memoir adaptation for younger readers. “I would put myself in the role, I would go for long walks. I would just create this voice of 10-year-old Maria to tell these stories to another 10-year-old,” says Emmy Award-winner Hinojosa.

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