Selected Work


Searching for Zarahemla, Pipe Wrench Magazine (cover story) (Dec. 2022)
A van, the Yucatán, five Latter-day Saints, and the malleable nature of truth

The Rise of the Liberal Latter-day Saints, The Washington Post Magazine (cover story) (Oct. 2021)
The battle for the future of Mormonism

The Life and Death of Antonio Sajvín Cúmes, Guernica (March 2021)
He planned to write a memoir, The Life of a Migrant. Its central thesis: The American Dream is a lie

American Dream, The Washington Post Magazine (cover story) (June 2020)
Clinging to hope of a life in the U.S., migrants in this Mexican camp united to practice their own brand of democracy

Immigration and Latin America

Las Abuelas: How a Group of Sexual Slavery Survivors in Guatemala Won a Historic Legal Victory, Ms. (April 2022)
In rural Guatemala, a group of survivors of sexual slavery won a remarkable legal victory—and have become respected activists for Indigenous women’s rights.

A Guatemalan Town Remakes Itself in Indiana, National Geographic (November 2021)
“We’ve become a destination,” says the mayor of a small Indiana town transformed by migration.

What Isolation Does to Undocumented Immigrants, The Atlantic (May 2020)
The pandemic has thrown into sharp relief the lonely, confined lives many immigrants in the United States were already living.

Letter from Guatemala: From Scratch, Harper’s (Dec. 2019)
How do migrants stay connected to the homes and family they leave behind? One business ferries home-cooked soup from Guatemala to Queens, New York.

“Achieving the American Dream” with a Loan and a Smuggler, The New York Times (Nov. 2019)
Poor Guatemalans, desperate to come to the United States, take out loans under false pretenses to finance their journey. The dream is often elusive.

La inmigración – en español

Una pequeña Guatemala se está formando en Indiana, Estados Unidos, Soy502 (noviembre 2021)
National Geographic documentó a esta comunidad que llevó su cultura a esta área de Estados Unidos. 

La vida y muerte de Antonio Sajvín Cúmes, No-Ficción (marzo 2021)
Tenía previsto escribir unas memorias, La vida de un emigrante. Su tesis central: El sueño americano es una mentira.

El sueño americano se alcanza con un préstamo y un contrabandista, New York Times (noviembre 2019)
Desesperados por migrar a Estados Unidos, muchos guatemaltecos usan argumentos falsos para financiar su viaje al norte. A menudo, la consecuencia es una espiral de deudas y amenazas.

Audio Interviews/Podcasts

Creative Nonfiction Podcast, (57 min) (Dec. 2022)
Wide-ranging conversation with host Breandan O’Meara about “Searching for Zarahemla,” “The Life and Death of Antonio Sajvín Cúmes,” and my writing career, transition from elementary school teaching, and favorite hot sauce

The Sunday Long Read, (23 min) (Dec. 2022)
Conversation with Don Van Natta, Jr., Pulitzer-winning journalist and editor of the Sunday Long Read, about “Searching for Zarahemla.”

RadioWest with Doug Fabrizio, (50 min) KUER, Utah’s NPR station (Nov. 2021)
Interview on WaPo Mormonism piece, with introductory and concluding segments by Cristina Rosetti and Patrick Mason

Press Play with Madeleine Brand, (15 min) KCRW, Los Angeles’s NPR station (Oct. 2021)
Interview on WaPo Mormonism piece

Mormon Land, (25 min) Mormon Land Podcast, Salt Lake Tribune (Oct. 2021)
Interview on WaPo Mormonism piece with David Noyce and Peggy Fletcher Stack

So You Want to Talk About Mormonism (45 min) (Oct 2021)

About This (32 min) (Apr 2021)
Discussion about Guernica piece on Antonio Sajvín Cúmes

Education Reporting

Child Care, Car Seats, and Other Simple Ways to Keep Teen Moms in School, The Hechinger Report (July 2021)
In one Texas border town, where teen pregnancy rates are high, individualized curricula and a strong sense of community prepare teen moms for academic success
En español aquí

Pedro Noguera: The Work Is Not Yet Done, Edutopia (September 2020)
Unequal schools have been a fact of American life long after Brown v. Board. In the midst of another great awakening on race and equity, can we summon the will to change them?

How Children Process Fear and Anxiety Through Play, Edutopia (June 2020)
Young children will likely process the tumultuous events of 2020 in the only way they know how—through play. Here’s how adults can be supportive.

Mo Willems on the Lost Art of Being Silly, Edutopia (February 2020)
The author of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive The Bus! chats with us about creativity, drawing as empathy, and letting kids “do 51 percent of the work.”

When the Bus is the Schoolhouse, Hechinger Report and Christian Science Monitor (February 2020)
In a remote region of Appalachia, a preschool on wheels offers a vehicle to improved life outcomes for young children and their families.

How Daily Farm Work and Outdoor Projects Make Learning in High School Better for Teens, Hechinger Report and NPR’s MindShift (June 2019)
At Telstar Freshman Academy, outdoor-based projects are a way to raise students’ ambitions and keep them engaged

“We Want a Kid You Don’t Have Any Idea What to Do With”, Hechinger Report and Pacific Standard (April 2019)
Sacramento Academic and Vocational Academy helps very vulnerable students succeed in high school — and beyond.

For Refugee High Schoolers in Boston, a Vision of America the Normal, The Progressive (March 2017)

Essays and Opinion Writing on Education

I taught at the Mission Hill School. It was a disaster—but it didn’t have to be., The Boston Globe (May 2022)
Mission Hill didn’t fail because its mission was impossible to achieve; it failed because it fostered a culture of laziness, incompetence, and defiant isolationism.

Thinking is a Mess We Should Talk About, Edutopia (January 2021)
Great minds don’t think alike—which is why students need to witness examples of genuine thought in all its glorious and messy individuality.

Want Mastery? Let Children Find Their Own Way, Edutopia (December 2019)
Prominent scholars say that to drive deeper learning, students need to become accustomed to confusion—and develop the persistence to find their own answers.

Teaching Your Heart Out: Emotional Labor and the Need for Systemic Change, Edutopia (July 2019)
Love for their students is what drives many teachers—but it’s also what makes the profession really, really hard.

Why Learning Things ‘Sooner and Faster’ Doesn’t Get Them Further in School, The Washington Post (January 2016)

Personal Essays (and Photography)

Pretend Nobody Died, Guernica (May 2020)
These days, every day is the same: I play with my three-year-old neighbor. At night, I call the hospital. Before I go to bed, I upload my photos.

Out of Sight, Guernica (March 2020)
Hope sustains the migrants living in a camp in Matamoros, Mexico, but everything is tainted by despair.

Learning to See, Pigeon Pages (May 2018)

When I first start working with Finola, I haven’t begun to carry a camera everywhere; my eyes are not yet the eyes of a photographer.