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“The greatest gift is a passion for reading.”
Summary: In 1926, revolution in Mexico forced the Garcia family to flee to the United States. They resettled in Aztec, a mining town in the American Southwest. Jose, a precocious eleven-year-old, wanted to play baseball, help earn money for his family, and be treated as an equal by his Anglo peers. This is a historical fiction work for advanced readers.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 9 to 12
Interest Level: 8 to 12
Young Reader Reaction: pending
Adult Reader Reaction: This fictional accurately portrays the determination and hardships shown by immigrants trying to meet the many challenges of starting a new life in a hostile environment. The story is simple and low key, but the messages are strong and beg to be discussed.
Pros: The story is real and the characters are believable. Although they may never experience Jose’s experiences personally, readers will relate to his joy and pain and gain some measure of understanding of the suffering and inhumanity caused by bigotry.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. Parents, teachers, or counselors can use this book to provide opportunities for middle and junior high school students who grapple with the problem of bigotry, immigration, poverty, and hope. The issues could not be more relevant.
Educational Themes: This story reveals how Mexican families who migrated to the U.S. lived, raised families, and coped with the challenges of poverty, bigotry, and institutional bias. There is much to learn from the story and much more to talk about and share with young readers.