Posts Tagged 'immigrant'

The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande


Genre:  Biography

# of Pages:  322

RAC:  Yes

Reyna Grande was born in Mexico and when she was very young her father left for the U.S. in the hopes of making his dreams come true and providing a better life for his family.  A few years later, he sent for their mother and Reyna and her siblings were heartbroken to be left behind.  Over the years they endured neglect and abuse at the hands of family.  Eventually, their father returned and agreed to sneak them across the border.  Reyna was only in 5th grade at this time and had a tough time keeping up, but they were able to get across and begin school.  By now her parents had split up and she was living with the father she hardly knew and his new woman.  Life was still not perfect as she struggled to make her father proud and nothing she did ever seemed to bring any reaction except harsh criticism or beatings.  Will she ever manage to achieve her goal of going to college and becoming a writer or are there too many environmental roadblocks in her way?

This true story is very powerful and accurate depicting the lives of many immigrants to the U.S.  and their families who are often separated for years at a time while they are trying to immigrate.  The description of life in Mexico also helps readers understand why so many people were immigrating to the U. S. and leaving families behind.  There are many disappointments for Reyna and her siblings, but she never loses hope and never lets go of her dreams.

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

**Student Review** by Gabby Bierlein

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

The Jungle is a novel about a Lithuanian family who moves to Chicago to work in the stockyards. It tells about their struggle for survival in this harsh new environment and the hardships that they must endure. Aside from this, The Jungle also gives an accurate description of the meat-packing industry in the early 1900’s and how life was for many new immigrants at that time. The author’s purpose for writing this book was to show the world how terrible an unskilled laborer’s life can be. After reading the book, however, the things that stuck with me the most were the atrocious conditions of the packing plants and how lax health standards were at that time. Thankfully, Upton Sinclair’s novel showed the world that something needed to be changed. Although The Jungle is almost 400 pages long, it does not get boring or old. The author keeps you reading with exciting twists and turns on every page. While some of the events that occur in the book are a little unbelievable, they add to the story and make it more interesting.
Overall, I thought this book was a very good read. Not only was it entertaining and interesting, it also taught me a lot about American history. It opened my eyes to the realization that life in a new country, especially one whose culture and language are unknown to you, can be extremely difficult. I would definitely recommend The Jungle to history fans and anyone who is looking for a good book. Although the book is long, and there are some slow parts, it is well worth the read.


La Linea by Ann Jaramillo

Genre:  Multicultural literature

Age Level:  14 and up

# of pages:  129

RAC Book:  Yes

Miguel lives in a small, poor town in Mexico with his grandmother and younger sister. His father and mother crossed the border into California years ago and have been struggling to get settled so that they could bring their other two children over.  On Miguel’s 15th birthday he is given a letter from his father saying it is time to come over.  On the day Miguel is set to leave, Elena, his sister, runs away because she can’t stand the idea of being left behind.  Her arrival messes up Miguel’s plans and they must create a new plan so that they can both cross the border together.

Many hardships await Miguel and Elena as they make their journey toward the border and there are many times when they feel like giving up.  Although the story is fast paced and told quickly, the idea of the length and hardship of the journey is brought across clearly to the reader.  Obviously, Mexican immigration is a big issue in today’s world and this story will help students to think about the issue from the side of the immigrants.  Reasons and motivations for coming to America are provided, as well as reasons why people want to stay in Mexico.