February 9, 2010

Teen migrants

by Ann Jaramillo

Miguel's parents emigrated to California six years ago, leaving him with his grandmother in San Jacinto. Now it's his turn to cross la lĂ­nea (the border), but his plans are disrupted when his sister, Elena, decides to follow him. Together, they embark on a perilous journey - hopping freight trains, avoiding the militia, and almost perishing in the desert. 

In just 125 pages, Ann Jarmillo manages to convey the desperation and longing of many migrants, often just children and teens, trying to reunite with their families. The final chapter poignantly reveals that sometimes, wishes and dreams are bittersweet.

For a true-life perspective, see the excellent and thoughtful documentary Which Way Home on CBC's Passionate Eye.

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