Posts Tagged 'immigration'

Red Glass by Laura Resau

Genre:  Multicultural Fiction

# of Pages: 275

RAC Book:  Yes

2011 Iowa Teen Award Winner

Sophie lives with her mother and stepfather and is known to be cautious.  Her family is surprised one night by a phone call from a local hospital.  The hospital had a small boy whose parents were killed crossing the border into the U.S.  The boy had Sophie’s stepdad’s business card in his pocket.  Although, they have no idea why the boy had the business card they felt it was up to them to take the boy home and care for him until they could find his extended family.  Pablo is slow to interact with the family, but eventually tells them his name.  They are able to contact his grandmother and tell her they will bring Pablo to visit over summer break.  Sophie knows that if Pablo chooses to stay in Mexico they will let him, but she does not want to lose her new found brother.  Sophie, her Aunt, her aunt’s boyfriend, and his son all accompany Pablo into Mexico to find his family, but along the way Sophie finds much more than that.

This story is a wealth of knowledge about life in Mexico and Central America. The characters are all true to their beliefs and find ways to help Sophie find her way in the world.  Sophie is a complex character who must face several hard truths in the story, but never fails to rise to the challenge.  Pablo reminds the reader of the innocent children who live in Mexico and South America and struggle due to the pressures of modern day economies and technology.  The book celebrates the life and customs of those who refuse to adapt to 21st century ways.  The story raises questions about how homogenized we have become as a global society yet at the same time how we ignore how people struggle in developing countries.  A very good read.

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Sofi Mendoza’s Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico by Malin Alegria

Genre: Realistic Fiction/Multicultural

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 276 p.

RAC Book: yes

Sofi Mendoza was born in Mexico, but moved with her parents to the U.S. when she was three. She can’t speak Spanish and knows very little about Mexican culture. Her parents are okay that she is “American” because they came to the U.S. to get her better opportunities. Despite the fact that her parents denied her permission to go to a party in Tijuana, Sofi decides to go anyway because she wants to hang out with a boy. Things do not go as planned and on the way back into California Sofi is told her green card is fake and she must stay in Mexico.

Luckily, Sofi has an aunt nearby, but she finds life in Mexico very difficult and different from what she’s used to. There is limited electricity and running water, little access to phone and internet, and bugs everywhere. As Sofi begins to realize how serious her situation is she is forced to learn more about her Mexican heritage and family.

This story touches on many timely issues such as citizenship and illegal immigrants. Sofi behaved as a typical American teen in many ways, but was shocked to see the poverty in Mexico and realized how much she takes for granted. Sofi’s story forces the reader to think about what it would be like to be in the situation many Mexicans face, which is the choice between poverty and ill-education or trying to make it in a country that does not want you. This story was entertaining as well as informative about this topic, despite the fact that Sofi often gets very lucky at getting out of tough or even dangerous situations, and many readers will come to care about Sofi and her family. A good read.

Heat by Mike Lupica

Genre:  Sports

Age Level:  12 and up

# of pages:  220 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Michael Arroyo was born in Cuba and immigrated to the United States with his father and brother when he was younger.  His entire family is obsessed with baseball and they love living in the Bronx, which is so close to Yankee Stadium.  Michael also plays on a Little League All Stars team and they hope to go to the World Series.  Michael is a strong pitcher and a little big for his age, so as his team starts to do well other coaches feel the need to question his date of birth.  Unfortunately, Michael is not able to locate his birth certificate, which causes some problems for him and his team.

Meanwhile, Michael and his brother, Carlos, are hiding a terrible secret that they are afraid will break their family up.  Despite the fact that Michael doesn’t seem to have anything going right in his life, he always has his friends and baseball to get him through.  He wonders whether he will get to continue to play baseball or if his dream will end forever over a dispute about his age.  This was a good sports story, but it also shed some light on difficult issues like immigration and poverty.  Boys will be a fan of this book.


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