|Santiago's road home|
Author: Diaz, Alexandra
Fleeing abusive relatives and extreme poverty in Mexico, young Santiago endures being detained by ICE while crossing the border into the United States.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 511356
Kirkus Reviews (+) (03/15/20)
School Library Journal (05/01/20)
Booklist (+) (04/15/20)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/05/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/15/2020 *Starred Review* This incisive portrayal of an unaccompanied minor’s trials will inspire both empathy and righteous anger in young readers. Santiago has been shuffled from relative to relative ever since his mom died when he was five. After his abusive aunt kicks him out, the 12-year-old decides to cross the border, from Mexico into the U.S., in hopes of finding a new life. He meets and bonds with a kind, single mom and her adorable little girl, with whom he joins on the harrowing journey, but when they get separated at the border, he wonders if he will ever be reunited with his newfound family. This is a heartrending tale of survival against the odds—including murderous coyotes, inhumane living conditions at detention centers, and traitorous guards. Diaz follows her Pura Belpré–winning The Only Road (2016) and its sequel with an equally sympathetic narrator searching for family and home. With every chapter, readers will be further immersed in Santiago’s story as they root for his triumph over injustice. The characters here are fully realized, and this narrative is one that brings home the reality of what is happening at our borders. Pair with David Bowles’ They Call Me Güero for units exploring the southern U.S. border. A must-have for all middle-grade collections. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
Booklist - 04/15/2020 - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 05/01/2020 Gr 5–7—Fleeing his abusive family, 12-year-old Santiago joins a young mother, María Dolores, and her daughter, Alegría, in an attempt to cross the border from Mexico into the United States. The three are near death from exhaustion and dehydration when border agents find and separate them. Santiago spends months in a youth detention facility where he is treated as a "criminal" and given no information about the mother and daughter, whom he has come to think of as his sisters. The prose is straightforward, presenting stark realities with no adornment. Covered with scars from abuse and often starving, Santiago approaches death's door twice, and a teen at the detention center does die. The text includes many italicized Spanish words and phrases, and it acknowledges varying accents and vocabularies among Latin American countries. Back matter includes an afterword, a glossary, and lists of online resources and related books. Santiago is a sympathetic character, and readers get a vivid sense of his experiences and world view, which includes a distrust of police and most adults, as well as a great capacity for caretaking. The book ends with a happy reunion with María Dolores and Alegría, but their asylum cases are pending. They still don't know if they will be allowed to stay in the U.S., and they will always live with the trauma of being separated. VERDICT Vivid details and a sympathetic protagonist make this a harrowing but deeply illuminating portrayal of the struggles faced by families at the U.S.-Mexico border.—Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.