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Solito  By  cover art

Solito

By: Javier Zamora
Narrated by: Javier Zamora
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Publisher's Summary

READ WITH JENNA BOOK CLUB PICK AS FEATURED ON TODAY • A young poet tells the unforgettable story of his harrowing migration from El Salvador to the United States at the age of nine in this moving, page-turning memoir hailed as “the mythic journey of our era” (Sandra Cisneros)

“A new landmark in the literature of migration, and in nonfiction writ large.”—Francisco Cantú, author of The Line Becomes a River 

Trip. My parents started using that word about a year ago—“one day, you’ll take a trip to be with us. Like an adventure.”  

Javier Zamora’s adventure is a three-thousand-mile journey from his small town in El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, and across the U.S. border. He will leave behind his beloved aunt and grandparents to reunite with a mother who left four years ago and a father he barely remembers. Traveling alone amid a group of strangers and a “coyote” hired to lead them to safety, Javier expects his trip to last two short weeks. 

At nine years old, all Javier can imagine is rushing into his parents’ arms, snuggling in bed between them, and living under the same roof again. He cannot foresee the perilous boat trips, relentless desert treks, pointed guns, arrests and deceptions that await him; nor can he know that those two weeks will expand into two life-altering months alongside fellow migrants who will come to encircle him like an unexpected family. 

A memoir as gripping as it is moving, Solito provides an immediate and intimate account not only of a treacherous and near-impossible journey, but also of the miraculous kindness and love delivered at the most unexpected moments. Solito is Javier Zamora’s story, but it’s also the story of millions of others who had no choice but to leave home.

©2022 Javier Zamora (P)2022 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Perhaps only a poet could invoke the fear and beauty of a migrant’s voyage. A witness who lived the story is essential to gain credibility. A child is necessary to summon compassion. This is the mythic journey of our era, told by a hero not old enough to tie his shoes, an oracle for our troubled times. I have waited decades for a memoir like Solito.” (Sandra Cisneros)

“This is a magnificent book. Clearly written by a poet, it puts the reader viscerally through every moment of Javier Zamora’s epic journey. Every character is rendered with boundless care and love, and the result is not a book you should feel required to read but should rush to for a gorgeous, riveting tale of perseverance and the lengths humans will go to help one another in times of struggle. With this book, Zamora arrives at the forefront of essential American voices.” (Dave Eggers, author of The Circle and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius)

“If there’s any justice, Solito will someday be considered a classic.” (Rumaan Alam, author of Leave the World Behind)

Featured Article: Best of the Year—The 15 Best Bios and Memoirs of 2022


There are few stories more compelling or more intimately told than those soul-baring memoirs that seek not just to recount the experiences of one's own life, but to draw some greater commentary on the big existential questions. What does it mean to be human? What is our purpose in being here? How much of who we are is purely self-determined? Exceptional in both their prose and narration, these listens represent a few of the year's best memoirs.

What listeners say about Solito

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A Young Immigrant Experience

This is one of the most moving immigrant crossing stories I've read. The fact that it's from his 9 year old point of view enhances the story.

2 people found this helpful

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Touched

This book was absolutely outstanding, it touched a special place in my heart. Being someone born in Costa Rica and coming to the USA legally, I now see how hard it is for others to come here and it just makes me so sad to see what they go through. I wish it wasn’t like this and I hate it for them. I pray that one day things will be different and easier to come to the USA. Thank you Javier for telling me your story. God Bless You

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amazing

This book has a full range of emotions, making you feel hopeful, sad, humble, Inspired.

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Highly Recommend

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn of the experience that immigrants go through to live the American dream. The writer truly captured his experience with beautifully written descriptive words.

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Just start this book!

This book was such an emotional journey. A tough story to listen to because of my own family history. But I highly recommend!

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Unequalled narrative of migration.

This is a book I’ve been waiting for since 1998 when I saw hundreds of black vultures in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, on the US-Mexico border, and read about the thousands of migrants who were dying there.

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Recognizing the Suffering of Migrants

This book is an amazing recounting of a boys journey to reach his parents who migrated illegally into the United States and then sent for him with the help of coyotes. His bravery and trust of strangers is notable.

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Amazing!

What a moving story. I had to keep listening to what was happening next. I laughed and cried!

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Beautifully told and captivating.

This eloquently descriptive story of Javier Zamora's journey was emotional, eye opening, raw, and honest. I did not want to stop reading and listening to it. Hearing the author's actual voice tell his experience made it much more personal and made me feel connected. I highly recommend this book and I pray that Javier reunites with his journey family.

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Interesting story

Enjoyed hearing a 9 year old’s perspective of crossing… probably would have enjoyed it more if I read the book. Not a fan of the narration by the author.