We will be exploring the theme of "Overcoming Obstacles and the Search for Identity" with the help of the following literature:


  • Journey of the Sparrows by Fran Leeper Buss (class read aloud)


    "Nailed into a crate in the back of a truck, fifteen-year-old María and her older sister Julia, their little brother Oscar, and a boy named Tomás endure a cruel journey across the U.S. border and then north to Chicago. There they struggle to find work--cleaning, sewing, washing dishes--always careful to remain "invisible" so the authorities won't arrest and deport them.
    Despite the family's ordeals, hope and love can be found--in María's budding romance with Tomás, in the help given by a kindly midwife and priest, and most of all, in the stories María tells to lift the family's spirits, or a little sparrow who brings a rainbow.
    Starkly realistic and tenderly poetic, this powerfully moving story of the secret lives of immigrants who courageously triumph over incredible obstacles is not to be missed." --back cover




  • La Línea by Ann Jaramillo (option 1 for literature circles)


    "When fifteen-year-old Miguel leaves his rancho deep in Mexico to migrate to California across la línea, the border, his life is about to begin. Or so he thinks.
    Fácil. Everyone told us how easy it was to hop on board the train. And everyone told us about the unlucky ones who didn't make it. the ones who survived were all over town, broken and abandoned, but still living. They were everywhere.
    Miguel's carefully laid plans change suddenly when his younger sister, Elena, disguises herself and follows him. Together, Miguel and Elena endure hardships and danger on their journey of desperation and desire, loyalty and betrayal. An epilogue, set ten years after the events of the story, shows that you can't always count on dreams--even the ones that come true.
    Ann Jaramillo debuts as a strong new voice in La Línea, a novel of life-changing, cliff-hanging moments." --back cover


  • Crossing the Wire by Will Hobbs (option 2 for literature circles)


    "In the mountains of central Mexico, fifteen-year-old Victor Flores has been scratching out a living for his family by farming ever since his father died. Days after Victor's best friend, Rico, runs away from home to seek a better life in the U.S., Victor learns that he may not be able to sell his corn this year. As his family teeters on the brink of disaster, Victor heads north in an attempt to "cross the wire" into the States, find work, and send money home.
    Unlike Rico, Victor has no experienced men to travel with and no coyote money to pay the smugglers who sneak illegal workers across the border. He resorts to jumping trains. For a while Victor travels with Julio from Honduras, then the mysterious Miguel, and finally with his childhood friend, Rico.
    Victor's journey is fraught with danger as he faces freezing cold, the scorching heat of the Arizona desert, hunger and dead ends. it's a gauntlet run by millions attempting to cross the border. Through Victor's often desperate struggle, Will Hobbs brings to life one of the great human dramas of our time." --inside cover


  • First Crossing; Stories About Teen Immigrants edited by Donald R. Gallo (jigsaw reading)


    "Fleeing from political violence in Venezuela, Amina and her family have settled in the United States. Sarah, adopted, is desperate to know her Korean birth parents. Maya is adapting just fine to life in the U.S. and wishes her strict Kazakh parents would follow suit. Adrian's new friends have some spooky--and hilarious--misconceptions about his Romanian origins. Martine is fighting proud of her Haitian roots, while Sopeap embraces her Cambodian heritage more cautiously....
    Whether they've transitioned from Mexico to the United States or from Ramallah to New Mexico, the characters in this anthology have all ventured far and have faced innumerable challenges. Hundreds of teen immigrants arrive on U.S. soil every year, every one of them unique. Here are ten unforgettable short stories--written by acclaimed, award-winning authors for young adults--that reflect his stunning diversity."
    --inside cover


  • Multiethnic Teens and Cultural Identity; A Hot Issue by Bárbara C. Cruz (reading strategy)


    "Does every teen know exactly what ethnicity or race he or she is? is it always easy to pick which box to mark when filling out a form asking for personal information? for more than a million American children of interracial backgrounds, these questions are not easily answered.
    In Multiethnic Teens and Cultural Identity, Bárbara Cruz takes the reader back to the first recorded interracial marriage in American History''John Rolfe and Pocahontas in 1614. Cruz then details the history of interracial marriages and children up to the 2000 Census. She explores the struggles that mixed race teens have endured, such as being alienated from nearly every race group and feeling pressure to choose only one race or ethnicity. Cruz gives a complete overview of this increasingly important topic." --back cover

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