La Familia – The Book

La Familia – The Book

Mano a Mano’s book La Familia: An International Love Story by Dr. Mary Martin is now available. The book is based on her three years of interviewing and weaving Mano a Mano’s stories into a lovely, inspiring tapestry. La Familia provides a moving account of childhood challenges, intercultural pitfalls, and the ultimate creation of grassroots international partnership at its best.

La Familia: An International Love Story

La Familia: An International Love Story

Purchase the Book Here

The book is currently available as a paperback and is $19.95. (An e-version is in process and will be listed as soon as it’s available.) Books are mailed from the Mano a Mano office; you can also pick up a copy there.

To purchase a book, please email or call the office at 651-457-3141.

In your email, please include:

La Familia & Gaining Ground – 2 Mano a Mano Books

La Familia joins Mano a Mano’s other book Gaining Ground: A Blueprint for Community-Based International Development, published in 2014 (you can purchase Gaining Ground in hard copy or digital form here). The 2 books complement each other well: La Familia is more about the Velasquez family and their story, and Gaining Ground is more of a ‘how-to’ relating to Mano a Mano’s partnership-based approach to development. Both books tell the story of Mano a Mano.

About the Author, Mary Martin

Mary Martin received her Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Minnesota in 1978. Since 1988, she has been a professor at Metro State University in St. Paul, MN:

  • June 2003 – Professor Emerita , Metropolitan State University
  • 2002-2003 – Director of the Urban Teacher Program
  • 1993-2003 – Professor of Social Work (Chair from 1996-2001)
  • 1988-1993 – Associate Professor and Family Studies Coordinator

From the Book


The excerpt below is taken from the preface:

“When Joan and I were in graduate school, we often lunched at El Amanecer, a Mexican restaurant on the West Side of St. Paul, Minnesota. The name and place of the restaurant has changed several times, but our lunches continue. We talk about our mutual obsession with issues of race and culture and our complicated personal lives–marriage, divorce, children, and grandchildren.

Very early our conversation veered southward to Latin America, a part of the world to which we both are drawn. The cross-cultural story of the Bolivian family Joan married into became even more intriguing as Mano a Mano emerged. After hearing a particularly good tale of U.S./Bolivian cultural complication and resolution within the Velasquez family and/or Mano a Mano, I often said, ‘We have got to tell this story!’”


“One day in the fall of 1967, Segundo Velásquez watched a tiny, fair-skinned young woman struggle to carry a tin bucket, full of water, down a dirt road on the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia. Like any other well-mannered young man, he caught up with the petite Minnesotan and, though she was a stranger, took her heavy bucket.

Segundo’s brief encounter with Joan Swanson White was the start of a deep and lasting connection, a chance meeting that grew into a complex, shared struggle to bring U.S. resources to bear on the profound needs of rural Bolivia.

In La Familia: An International Love Story, Mary Martin (above taking notes in Bolivia) provides a moving account of childhood challenges, intercultural pitfalls, and the ultimate creation of grassroots international partnership—Mano a Mano—at its best.

All proceeds from the sale of this book go directly to Mano a Mano.”

La Familia, back cover.

La Familia, back cover.

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