While writing The House on Mango Street (1984), Sandra Cisneros drew upon her experience as the daughter of a working-class Mexican American family in Chicago. The book earned her the American Book Award and was later translated into more than twenty languages. Cisneros has been named a MacArthur Fellow (1995), and in 2002, the New York Times and other national newspapers selected her novel Caramelo as a notable book of the year. In 2016, she was awarded the National Medal of the Arts by President Barack Obama.
This portrait is by Al Rendon, who is renowned for his photographs of Latinx leaders in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas. He portrays Cisneros with her dog on the porch of her former house, smiling at the viewer and wearing a traditional Mexican folk dress. The author currently lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, taking advantage of her dual U.S. and Mexican citizenship.