Personal accounts of 16 young Latin American immigrants told as side-by-side pen-and-ink bilingual comics.
The comic strips and accompanying short bios in Spanish and English came about through an initiative by the Latin American Youth Center in Washington, D.C. The compelling stories shared by these students, all members of the Latino Youth Leadership Council and active in the fight for social justice, signal their desire to serve as beacons or lifelines for other young immigrants. Their testimonies, as Newbery Medal winner Meg Medina (Merci Suárez Changes Gears, 2018, etc.) points out in her foreword, are ultimately about courage. The courage needed to leave behind the familiarity of their home environments—El Salvador, Cuba, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala—is evident throughout, as the stories showcase the many reasons migrants have for coming to the U.S., including seeking better opportunities, fleeing violence, and reuniting with family after years of painful separation. The young authors don’t shy away from tough subjects: There are descriptions of grief, cultural dislocation, cutting, and a suicide attempt. The format doesn’t allow for thorough explorations of the root causes for migration, but the emphasis is on the hopeful and positive paths these young adults have forged. The editorial decision to retain “authentic student voices" in the essays means that some of the writing was not revised, and reflects the code switching and language loss that come with the disruption of lives and education.
Enlightening and inspiring #ownvoices accounts by young activists. (Graphic memoir. 14-18)