Later, Jen of Teach Mentor Texts and Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers started another group with a children's focus. Visit all the links for reading ideas!
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Not as much time to read, plus I've been putting together a group of short stories for students, too, so fewer books this week, but they're good! These books meet the challenge given by Latin@sIn KitLit. See the button on the right!
Libertad - written by Anna Fullerton
Someone recommended this book a few weeks ago and I got it, and finally read it. It is another verse novel, pairing well with Caminar by Skila Brown, which I also enjoyed. This time, the author starts the journey of the main character, Libertad, and his younger brother, Julio, living with their mother in a shack right by the Guatemala City garbage dump where they sift through the trash to find things to sell. Through happenstance, Libertad finds a marimba, which he repairs, and practices playing. This reminds him of his father, a musician, who has gone to America. They have one slip of paper with his phone number, but really no way to call, and of course, no money anyway to make a call. Through a tragic accident, their Mami is killed and they begin an even longer journey to the US, to find their father. The back matter speaks of so many children alone, fending for themselves, being attacked or burglarized for even the few coins they earn at the dump. And this too happens to the boys, although there are good moments and kindnesses from some people along the way, too. The story of those good things, and then the scarier moments, sometimes seems unrealistic to me, but I will rely on the author's note about her research in this serious plight of children in South America. It is not as frightening a story as others, and perhaps would be a good read aloud for middle grade students, to introduce them to another story of children in need. The poetry is clear prose, arranged for effect, often poignant, and sometimes startling in the content. For example, "Shoes": Julio sits on a bench/and swings his feet so the cool air/flows through the holes/our journey/has made in the soles/of his shoes." To include rhyme, and even a positive comment during this miles-long walk the boys are doing seems beautifully done to me.