Victor Villaseñor, author

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Latino Role Models Success

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Born in the barrio of Carlsbad, California in 1940, Victor Villaseñor was raised on a ranch four miles north in Oceanside. Since his parents were born in Mexico, Villaseñor spoke only Spanish when he started school. After years of facing language and cultural barriers, heavy discrimination and a reading problem, later diagnosed as dyslexia, Victor dropped out of high school his junior year and moved to Mexico. There he discovered a wealth of Mexican art, literature, music, that helped him recapture and understand the dignity and richness of his heritage.Victor returned to the U.S. at the age of 20. He began to feel the old frustration and anger return as he once again witnessed the disregard toward poor and uneducated people and especially toward the Mexicans. Then a chance encounter with James Joyce’s Portrait Of An Artist As A Young Man, changed Victor’s life. It awakened a desire to confront through literature the problems associated with his cultural heritage that continued to plague him.
 
After producing 9 novels, 65 short stories, and receiving 265 rejections, Villaseñor sold his first novel, Macho!, which the Los Angeles Times compared to the best of John Steinbeck. This began a journey that would eventually lead to the publication of the national bestseller Rain of Gold. Used by thousands of teachers and school systems across the nation as required reading, Rain of Gold tells the story of Victor’s family, taking the reader from war-torn Mexico during the Revolution of 1910 to the present day.

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