Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Caravan to the North: Misael’s Long Walk/ Caravana al Norte: La larga caminata de Misael

Written by Jorge Argueta
Illustrated by Manuel Monroy.

*Age Range: 9 and up
*Grade Level: 4 - 6
*Hardcover: 112 pages
*Publisher: Groundwood Books

This novel in verse is a powerful first-person account of Misael Martínez, a Salvadoran boy whose family joins the caravan heading north to the United States. We learn all the different reasons why people feel the need to leave the hope that lies behind their decision, but also the terrible sadness of leaving home. We learn about how far and hard the trip is, but also about the kindness of those along the way.

Finally, once the caravan arrives in Tijuana, Misael and those around him are relieved. They think they have arrived at the goal of the trip to enter the United States. But then tear gas, hateful demonstrations, force and fear descend on these vulnerable people. The border is closed. The book ends with Misael dreaming of El Salvador.

This beautiful and timely story is written in simple but poetic verse by Jorge Argueta, the award-winning author of Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds. Award-winning Mexican illustrator Manuel Monroy illuminates Misael’s journey. An author’s note is included, along with a map showing the caravan’s route.

Esta novela en verso es un poderoso relato en primera persona. Cuenta la historia de Misael Martínez, un niño salvadoreño cuya familia se une a la caravana que viaja al Norte, hacia los Estados Unidos. Nos muestra muchas de las razones que hacen que personas sientan la necesidad de irse, la esperanza que se esconde detrás de esta decisión, y la terrible tristeza de abandonar sus hogares. Es un aprendizaje sobre lo largo y arduo del viaje pero también sobre la bondad.

Cuando la caravana finalmente llega a Tijuana, Misael y los que lo acompañan se sienten aliviados. Piensan que han alcanzado la meta del viaje de entrar a los Estados Unidos. Pero enseguida el gas lacrimógeno, las protestas cargadas de odio, la fuerza bruta y el miedo caen sobre esta gente tan vulnerable. La frontera sigue cerrada. El libro termina con Misael soñando con El Salvador.

Esta hermosa y relevante historia está escrita en el verso accesible y poético de Jorge Argueta, el galardonado autor de Somos como las nubes / We are Like the Clouds. El premiado ilustrador mexicano Manuel Monroy ilumina la travesía de Misael. El libro incluye una nota final del autor y un mapa que ilustra la ruta de la caravana.


“The award-winning Salvadoran writer Argueta offers a brief but powerful novel in verse. … [His] spare text is given emotional potency through Misael’s observations of the members of the caravan …” Booklist, starred review

“Deceptively simple black-and-white line drawings accompany this wrenching account of the humanitarian crisis taking place in Central America and at the U.S. border. … This moving work should help children understand the current national discussion.” Kirkus Reviews

Jorge Argueta is an award-winning author of picture books and poetry for young children. He has won the International Latino Book Award, the Américas Book Award, the NAPPA Gold Award and the Independent Publisher Book Award for Multicultural Fiction for Juveniles. His books have also been named to the Américas Award Commended List, the USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List, Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books and the Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices. Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds, illustrated by Alfonso Ruano, won the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, was a Malka Penn Award for Human Rights in Children’s Literature honor book and an ALA Notable book, and received many other honors. A native Salvadoran and Pipil Nahua Indian, Jorge Argueta has returned to El Salvador and built a library in his backyard in San Salvador so that children can learn to love books.

Manuel Monroy is one of Mexico’s most celebrated illustrators who has exhibited his art in Mexico, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Italy, the Netherlands and Japan. He has won the A la Orilla del Viento and the Noma Concours Encouragement Prize, and he has been included on the IBBY Honour List. His illustrations appear in Rooster / Gallo, Be a Baby (Se un bebé), When I Was a Boy Neruda Called Me Policarpo, What Are You Doing? and Why Are You Doing That? He lives in Mexico City.

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