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After three decades, an e-book for Sandra Cisneros

By Hector Tobar

12:35 PM PDT, April 5, 2013

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Sandra Cisneros' first novel, "The House on Mango Street," has sold more than 5 million copies. A coming-of-age story, it's that rare book that can be assigned to grade-school children and college students, and it's been translated into several languages (the Spanish translation was the work of the great Mexican essayist, journalist and novelist Elena Poniatowska).

But Cisneros first published "The House on Mango Street" in 1984 (with the University of Houston-based Arte Publico Press), long before the advent of the e-book.

On April 30, Vintage Books is to make "The House on Mango Street" available as an e-book for the first time, the company said Friday in a news release. At the same time, Vintage Español will  release a Spanish-language e-book edition, "La Casa en Mango Street."

Vintage also plans to simultaneously release three other e-books by Cisneros: her second novel "Caramelo," the short-story collection "Woman Hollering Creek" (the title comes from a Texas road sign with a too-literal translation of a Spanish place name), and the poetry collection "Loose Woman."

"The House on Mango Street" is a series of vignettes about a young girl named Esperanza Cordero, who, as Cisneros did, grows up in Chicago in a bilingual family of Mexican immigrants.

The book, along with works by Julia Alvarez, Oscar Hijuelos and Cristina Garcia, helped spur a boom in U.S. Latino literature in the 1990s.

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hector.tobar@latimes.com