In October 2018, hundreds of people gathered in the capital city of El Salvador to form a caravan heading to the United States. Through the voice of one of these asylum seekers Argueta chronicles the unimaginable walk to the Tijuana border.
Misael Martínez, his brother, and their parents have joined the caravan “because you can’t really live / in my village anymore. / There’s no work. / There’s no way to get by. / What there is, / is violence, gangs.” As the caravan undertakes the staggering walk of over 2,500 miles—most individuals with no more than a backpack “full of hopes”—crossing through El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico, they are met mostly with kindness along the way. Finally, after much hardship, they reach the U.S. border only to be met with tear gas, “police with shields / and soldiers everywhere. / I’m really, really, really scared.” That night he dreams “the sweetest dream of all. / Instead of going to the North, / I went back to El Salvador.” 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. Read this along with Argueta’s Somos como las nubes/We Are Like the Clouds, illustrated by Alfonso Ruano and translated by Elisa Amado (2016). Argueta’s original Spanish text, Caravana al norte, publishes simultaneously.
This moving work should help children understand the current national discussion. (afterword, map) (Verse fiction. 9-adult)