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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

MG Novel-in-Verse a Gut-Wrenching, Illuminating Illegal Immigration Story

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Betita Quintero loves going to fourth grade in her East Los Angeles neighborhood.  There, a beloved teacher has been showing her how to express her feelings using vivid "word-poems."  She has plenty of emotions to illustrate—happiness from being surrounded by loving parents and a poor, but supportive community of immigrants; excitement over the impending birth of her baby sibling; and fear of her parents' undocumented status being discovered.  Betita's worst nightmare comes true when her father is arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and deported to Mexico.  Now, she and her pregnant mother are worried, scared, and on their own.  How can they survive without Papi?  

Things go from bad to worse when Betita and her mom are detained, locked away in a dirty cell with other terrified refugees.  How will they survive in such a hopeless, joyless place?  Will her Mami's baby be okay?  Most of all, will the Quintero family ever be reunited?  

Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar (who was born in Mexico and brought to the United States by her undocumented parents when she was a baby) tells a gut-wrenching, heartrending story that is all too timely and real.  It's grim and disturbing in a lot of ways, but it's also hopeful and beautifully told in verse.  No matter what you think of U.S. immigration policy and its enforcement, it's impossible not to be moved by this illuminating story.  It's a quick read, but a powerful one that has stuck with me for months.  

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Efrèn Divided by Ernesto Cisneros)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for violence, language, and disturbing subject matter 

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

3 comments:

  1. Added this to my TBR even though I know it's going to make me sob.

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like a tear jerker!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This sounds like an important and wonderfully done book. The cover sets a great tone.

    ReplyDelete

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