A growing library of great true stories, available on


The first book in the series, a great collection of tales that began to shape the mosaic of a neighborhood that TYTT stories have become.TYTT ELA 1 Cover

From eight first-time authors come some of East L.A.’s working-class icons:

A janitor who sends money back to her children for decades even after they disown her. A former mariachi with a tale about an unforgettable gig at a family’s house on Christmas Eve in South Gate.

A father in in the jungles of Vietnam and what was happening to his father’s family back in Los Angeles. A bracero and a simple act of kindness.

These stories and several more are beautiful tales, simple and thus powerful – just the kind I hoped would come from the experiment.


The strange and beautiful stories continue in Volume 2, condensed intoFrontCover a powerful package of expression from new and previously unpublished authors:

The trip some friends took to Tijuana to help another, recently deported, cross back into the United States. A boy’s fascination with Albert Einstein and the possibilities El Genio offered to a boy growing up in East L.A.

A woman haunted by spirits while living an otherwise typical suburban life in the United States.

A girl’s encounter with Mexican immigration officials as she was running away to Mexico to become a child bride. A man remembers his time in a Czech communist boarding school for “almost-blind” kids.

More great stories.


Volume 3 combines new writers and TYTT veterans.tytt3cover

An ELA gang member joins the Army and jumps from a plane. One man uses the memory of a walk down his street to tell the story of his neighborhood. A mother on her way north, as a girl, from a small Michoacan village all alone.

Another tells of meeting Cesar Chavez when she was 11 at an East L.A. parade.

These and several more. Sparse, and beautifully written tales of change and searching by writers finding their voices.


Finding the stories in small moments is one goal of this workshop. Another is to turn those nonfictioncover4tyttBOLD stories into tales that read like fiction.The stories in Volume 4 do that:

A man tells of the day at the beach with his grandfather, a former Bracero from Michoacan, on the beach in Santa Monica. The powerful tale of a man’s recovery from a near fatal illness and return from death.

A former Bracero discovering who he has become in the big city of Los Angeles. And a woman’s tale as a lifeguard at a public swimming pool in East Los Angeles.

I think you’ll find these and other stories all the more wondrous because they were produced by people who, for the most part, had not written much prior to this.


Volume 5 is the largest yet, with a dozen authors telling amazing stories.Vol5Cover2

A woman in the 1920s comes home to find her family gone; years later, her great-niece, obsessed with finding the truth, discovers what became of them.

A Chinese girl growing up in South-Central L.A. finds a friend. A woman watches the emergence of a new city while working as an ad seller for La Opinion. Another girl’s grandmother makes her a dress and shows her the meaning of love, and hard work.

One man’s trip down into Mexico in search of an identity; another man’s story of the quiet strength of his father.

Check out these and several other powerful stories in TYTT: East LA, Volume 5.