Sonia Nazario has spent more than 20 years reporting and writing about large social issues in the U.S. – hunger, drug addiction and immigration – most recently as a projects reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She has won numerous national journalism and book awards. Her story of a Honduran boy’s struggle to find his mother in the U.S., entitled Enrique’s Journey, won more than a dozen awards, among them the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing, the George Polk Award for International Reporting, the Grand Prize of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and the National Assn. of Hispanic Journalists Guillermo Martinez-Marquez Award for Overall Excellence.
Expanded into a book, Enrique’s Journey became a national bestseller, won three book awards and became a favorite among educators. It has been required reading for incoming freshman at more than 71 colleges, scores of high schools and a young adult version, published in 2014, has broadened the book’s use to middle schools.
In 1998, Nazario was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for a series on children of drug addicted parents. And in 1994, she won a George Polk Award for Local Reporting for a series about hunger among schoolchildren in California.
Now at work on her second book, Nazario, who grew up in Kansas and in Argentina, and began her career at the Wall Street Journal, has written extensively from Latin America and about Latinos in the United States. She has been named among the most influential Latinos by Hispanic Business Magazine and a “trendsetter” by Hispanic Magazine. In 2012, Columbia Journalism Review named Nazario among “40 women who changed the media business in the past 40.”
She is on the advisory board of Catch the Next, a nonprofit working to double the number of Latinos enrolling in college, and on the board of Kids In Need of Defense, a nonprofit launched by Microsoft and Angelina Jolie to provide pro-bono attorneys to unaccompanied immigrant children.
Nazario, a graduate of Williams College, has a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She has been awarded two honorary doctorates by Mount St. Mary’s College and Whittier College. As a speaker with a reporter’s eye to the truth, Nazario humanizes the issue of immigration, posing new perspectives that fall on both sides, while offering solutions destined to change the national dialogue.