Wednesday, July 29, 2020

JIMENA PEREZ PUEDE VOLAR / JIMENA PEREZ CAN FLY- Winner of a Skipping Stones Honor Award


Jorge Argueta's haunting narrative poem about family separation, JIMENA PEREZ PUEDE VOLAR / JIMENA PEREZ CAN FLY, is the winner of a Skipping Stones Honor Award!

Esther Celis, grandmother and Skipping Stones Board President says:


These  are  two  books  in  one,  two  front  pages,  one  in English,  and  the  other  in  Spanish. Each  a  translation  of  the  other,  the same  verse  format  in  both  languages.  It  begins  as  a  thoughtful  and sweet  story  about  Jimena  living  a modest  and  sheltered  life  with  her parents  and  friends  in  El  Salvador. Unfortunately,  gang  members  can threaten  even  young  children  like Jimena  and  her  friends.  Her  parents  decide  she  won’t be  safe;  Jimena  and  her  mother  risk  the  long  journey north  to  reunite  with  family  living  in  the  US.  Jimena describes the trip; we imagine the danger. She is innocent;  we  are  not. We  haven’t  forgotten  the  reports  of children separated at the border from their parents. We haven’t  forgotten  the  thousands  of  Central Americans forced to stay in the Mexican side of the border while applying  for  asylum  in  the  U.S.  Jimena  is  brave,  she keeps  telling  us  her  story,  and  she  keeps  living  despite the cruelty and sadness around her.



Congratulations to the creators of  all the winner books under the three categories.

To download the reviews of the 2020 Skipping Stones Honor Books  click

From the publisher, Arte Público Press:


Ten-year-old Jimena Pérez loves life with her parents in El Salvador. They sell fruit at the market, just like her grandmother and great grandmother did. “Fruits / are a blessing / like you, Jimena,” her mother tells her.


But one day a group of boys threaten her friend Rosenda at school. “You know / what will happen / to your family / if you don’t join us.” Jimena’s parents, afraid gangs will try to recruit her too, decide she must go to the United States with her mother. She is excited and fearful, and doesn’t want to leave her father, friends and dog Sultán. “I felt sad / the way fruit looks / when it’s past ripeness.” By bus, train and on foot, mother and daughter make their way north, until one night, bright lights fill the sky and men in green uniforms rip Jimena from her mother.


Imprisoned with children from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico, Jimena and the others cry for their parents. One boy repeats over and over, “My father’s name is Marcos / He is in Los Angeles.” A box full of books brings her some solace, reminding her of the ones donated to kids at the market in El Salvador. “The letters kiss me / like my mama’s words / like my papa’s words / I am a little bird / Nothing can stop me / I can fly.”


In this poignant narrative poem for kids ages 10-15, award-winning Salvadoran poet Jorge Argueta movingly captures the fear that drives so many Central Americans to flee their countries and the anguish created by separating children from their parents at the US border. Putting a human face on the millions of people who flee their homelands each year, this book will help young people understand the difficulties of migration and leaving behind all that is dear.



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