Monday, September 14, 2020

A Journey Toward Hope by Victor Hinojosa & Coert Voorhees, illustrated by Susan Guevara

A Journey Toward Hope 
by Victor Hinojosa & Coert Voorhees, 
illustrated by Susan Guevara
Six Foot Press, 2020, 40 pages
It's sometimes hard for Americans to think about allowing their children to travel unaccompanied by an adult through their own and neighboring countries, but that is exactly what sometimes happens when kids lives in countries where they are no longer safe. And that is the story of the four migrant children in this book. 
Alessandra, 10 leaves her home in Guatemala, hoping to reunite with her mother; Laura, 13, and her brother Nando, 7, must leave El Salvador and live with their aunt and uncle in the US; 
Rodrigo, 14, is leaving his home in Honduras where things are no longer safe for him, and joining his parents in Nebraska. 
As they journey toward the United States, they meet and form themselves into a protective little family. Their journey is long and often perilous. At one point, Laura falls out of the boat to Mexico and Rodrigo loses a shoe and must go barefoot until he is given shoes at a shelter. 
The children are often hungry, but sometimes find kindness among strangers in shelters where they can sleep and among other who give them food. They must travel by foot and by boat, but once they are in Mexico, they can jump La Bestia, a series of connecting trains where they must ride atop the cars, the most dangerous part of the trip, but one that will take them closer to the U.S. border. 

Though the story ends before they do reach the United States/Mexico border, their journey is always a journey of hope - each child has a dream for their future that they hope can be fulfilled in America. 

This is an excellent picture book for older reader for introducing them to what is going on in the world today, particularly at the border between American and Mexico, and generating some informative discussions. Each child's story is simply told in accessible language. The illustrations are bright, done in a palette of soft pastels. Readers will also notice that each child has a lightly drawn animal by him or her. Be sure to read the Illustrator' Note to discover the meaning behind these animals. There is also more information in the back matter about the reality of life for migrant children as well as ways to get involved and help. Though I have reviewed the English edition of this book, there is a Spanish language edition available as well: Una jornada hacia la esperanza.

This book is recommended for readers age 8+
This book was gratefully received from Casey Blackwell at Media Masters Publicity 

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