Posts Tagged 'Mexico'

The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande

distance

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.

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.

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.

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.


Archives