Local‌ ‌author‌ ‌and‌ ‌teacher‌ ‌Ernesto‌ ‌Cisneros‌ ‌is‌ ‌back‌ ‌at‌ ‌it‌ ‌again‌ ‌with‌ ‌his‌ ‌new‌ ‌book‌ ‌“Falling‌ ‌ Short”‌


Andoe Glaser

Santa Ana teacher Ernesto Cisneros shows his new book at Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School.

You walk into Barnes & Noble to find some new things to read. You see a book in the new releases section, “Falling Short,”  by Ernesto Cisneros.That name sounds familiar,you think to yourself. 

Ernesto Cisneros, or Mr. C., as many students in the Santa Ana Unified School District know him, is the author of the Pura Belpré award winning bookEfren Divided.”  The powerful story follows Efren’s life after his mother is deported and tells an impactful story about family and the importance of using your voice. 

His second middle grade novel, titled “Falling Short,”  is set to be released in March of 2022. The novel is about two friends, Marco and Issac. Marco wants to connect with his dad by playing on the basketball team, and Issac tries to improve academically in order to try to fix his life at home. Their situation puts them in a position where they need to help each other in order to achieve their goals.

One former student of Cisneros expresses excitement about the new book. 

Junior Fatima Del Carmen said, “I really want to read Mr. C’s new book! From what I saw from the book summary, I feel that I can relate to it as I also have a best friend with whom I can rely, and sometimes, we rely on each other for the craziest things! I can’t wait to get a hold of this book!”

Cisneros discussed his writing process for this book and some of the things that he learned from writing the novel.

He stated, “With this book I allowed myself a lot more liberties, a lot more freedom, so with this this book I allowed myself to go play basketball, I allowed myself to go to the gym and now I’ve come to the realization that me playing basketball is part of the writing process. Me going to the gym or going for a drive or going for some ice cream; that’s writing too ’cause you need the down time, and there’s no way I can just sit there and crunch up and get quality humor if you’re just forcing them out.”

Cisneros also said, “I went on a journey with this book, going back to kind of being forgiving of myself and my flaws; so yeah that was something that I wasn’t expecting and like I said. Now I’m trying to remember that as an adult, that I’m not perfect and I don’t need to be, and my best is good enough.”

Cisneros additionally talked about one of the successes he experienced while writing the book. 

He stated, “I think my greatest success and I’m hoping this is my greatest success was balancing the humor and the heart of the story so I wanted the story to be heartfelt, and I wanted to have drama still in there, but I also wanted to be light.”

He also talked about how being a teacher affects his writing. 

Cisneros said, “But I continue to tell the kids, ‘Hold on!’ when I see something in the classroom, I gotta write this down because that’s hilarious. The students are still giving me- they’re still influencing the books. Always.”

Although he says being a teacher helps his writing, he often feels the difficulty balancing being a teacher and writing a novel at the same time.

He stated, “People keep asking me if I’m gonna like stop teaching, and I don’t think I can and I don’t want to. I just wish I could do both. I just wish I could teach and still have time to write. And that’s the biggest challenge right now.”

Cisneros also talked about using own voices to make the world a more caring place. 

“In our world there’s a lot of hatred out there, and it just seems to me that it’s a lot more difficult to hate people that you know, and the more you get to know people, the harder it is to dislike them, and so I think that if we did a better job of sharing our own voices with the world there would be a lot less hatred out there, and there’d be a lot more empathy if we can kind of like see other people’s perspectives,” Cisneros said.

It appears that students of SAUSD feel represented in Cisneros’ works. 

Junior Daniel Cabral is a former student of Cisneros. He stated, “Students of SAUSD, more specifically students of immigrant families, were represented because the story is set in the area and raises the problems that we students face. Mr. C has been open about how much of the book was based on what he has seen his students go through.”

Aside from considering him to be an accomplished writer, former students remember his impact on them from when they were students in his class.

Cabral stated, “Mr. C. was like an extra parental figure to me and my classmates as he was a very open and accessible person, often leaving his classroom open and staying after school to provide a free space for anyone who needed it.”

Junior Gil Lopez said, “The most memorable thing Mr. C has told me is to enjoy who I am. I’ve taken that advice with me.”