Growing Up Along the Border: Stories for Young Adults
These short stories and novels capture the unique perspective of kids growing up along the border, as well as the lives of people living on both the U.S. and Mexican sides. Recommended for grades 7-12.
A Good Long Way
"At 2 a.m., Roelito wakes up to a furious quarrel between his older brother, Beto, 18, and Dad over a broken curfew. When Dad tells Beto to leave, he does, and his best friend, Jessy, helps him find shelter for the night. She knows about running away; she flees the house whenever her drunken father and her mother scream and fight. Can she wait out the two months to graduation and make it to college?
Border Lore Folktales and Legends of South Texas
Award-winning translator and author David Bowles brings together twenty-five darkly memorable stories of the southern borderlands of Texas, retold in his unique voice. Ranging from the age-old folktales heard at his grandmother's knee to urban legends collected down the years, each of these narratives is brought to stunning visual life by artist José Meléndez. An appendix classifies the pieces and enumerates motifs.
Product Description: Meet Loco, a dog with a passion for firecrackers. And Pedro, an altar boy forced to learn a hard lesson from two of the toughest, oldest men ever to serve the Lord. Jordan and Todd are two boys from California who don't know what they're in for when they push their Texas cousins a little too far. Loosely based on the author's own childhood in south Texas, this story collection is a moving whirlwind of humor and insight-brash, tender, and full of the unexpected.
Finding Our Way
"Saldaña's collection of short stories and one brief novella offers snapshots of teens' lives. The outsider, or an unusual character, appears in a number of ways — as the new kid, as a drama teacher trying to instill in his students his own love of the theater, and as a boy making his way into the adult world. With a deft touch, the author creates a clear, concise picture of time and place (along the Texas border or Georgia) with characters who sound and think like today's teens." — School Library Journal
Garza Twins, Book 1: The Smoking Mirror
Carol and Johnny Garza are 12-year-old twins whose lives in a small Texas town are forever changed by their mother's unexplained disappearance. Shipped off to relatives in Mexico by their grieving father, the twins soon learn that their mother is a nagual, a shapeshifter, and that they have inherited her powers. In order to rescue her, they will have to descend into the Aztec underworld and face the dangers that await them. Winner Pura Belpré Author Honor Award.
My Land Sings: Stories from the Río Grande
"This collection of stories has elements of both Mexican and Native American folklore. Anaya has included five of his own stories and retold and enhanced five traditional tales. Filled with ghosts, devils, and tricksters, these cuentos are suffused with the beliefs of the peoples in the Río Grande region…Anaya champions the reading of a good book or listening to a folktale as an opportunity to insert one's own experiences into the story and, hence, to nurture the imagination. " — School Library Journal
Product Description: One night Sophie and her parents are called to a hospital where Pedro, a six-year-old Mexican boy, is recovering from his trip across the border. Pedro comes to live with Sophie, her parents, and Sophie's Aunt Dika, a refugee of the war in Bosnia. Sophie loves Pedro — her Principito, or Little Prince. But after a year, Pedro's surviving family in Mexico makes contact, and Sophie must travel with Pedro to his hometown so that he can make a heartwrenching decision. An Américas Award Honor Book.
Summer of the Mariposas
Product Description: When Odilia and her four sisters find a dead body in the swimming hole, they embark on a hero's journey to return the dead man to his family in Mexico. But returning home to Texas turns into an odyssey that would rival Homer's original tale. With the supernatural aid of ghostly La Llorona, Odilia and her little sisters travel a road of tribulation to their long-lost grandmother's house. Along the way, they must outsmart a witch and her Evil Trinity.
The Boy Kings of Texas: A Memoir
Product Description: A lyrical and authentic book that recounts the story of a border-town family in Brownsville, Texas in the 1980's, as each member of the family desperately tries to assimilate and escape life on the border to become "real" Americans, even at the expense of their shared family history. This is really un-mined territory in the memoir genre that gives in-depth insight into a previously unexplored corner of America. 2012 National Book Award Finalist.
The Everything I Have Lost
12-year-old Julia keeps a diary about her life growing up in Juárez, Mexico. Life in Juárez is strange. People say it's the murder capital of the world. Dad’s gone a lot. They can’t play outside because it isn’t safe. Drug cartels rule the streets. Cars and people disappear, leaving behind pet cats. Then Dad disappears and Julia and her brother go live with her aunt in El Paso. What’s happened to her Dad? Julia wonders. Is he going to disappear forever? A coming-of-age story set in today’s Juárez.
The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind
Sixteen-year-old Sonia Ocampo was born on the night of the worst storm Tres Montes had ever seen. And when the winds mercifully stopped, an unshakable belief in the girl’s protective powers began. Sonia knows she has no special powers, but how can she disappoint those who look to her for solace? When she gets a chance to travel to the city and work in the home of a wealthy woman, she seizes it. But when news arrives that her beloved brother has disappeared while looking for work, she learns to her sorrow that she can never truly leave the past or her family behind.
The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans
"Readers will be rewarded by the wisdom, wit, and hope in these 16 short stories. The selections range from the mystical appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe in 'The Holy Tortilla' to the haunting yet empowering story of a victim in 'The Stuff to Scream With.' …What all of these stories have in common is the optimism that comes from taking emotional risks and forming relationships with family, friends, and community.
The Jumping Tree
Product Description: These lively stories follow Rey Castaneda from sixth through eighth grade in Nuevo Penitas, Texas. As Rey begins to cross the border from childhood into manhood, he turns from jokes and games to sense the meaning of work, love, poverty, and grief, and what it means to be a proud Chicano — moments that sometimes propel him to show feelings un hombre should never express. It's a new territory where Rey longs to follow the example his hardworking, loving father has set for him.
The Other Side of the River
Petra Luna is in America, having escaped the Mexican Revolution and the terror of the Federales. Now that they are safe, Petra and her family can begin again, in this country that promises so much. Still, twelve-year-old Petra knows that her abuelita, little sister, and baby brother depend on her to survive. She leads her family from a smallpox-stricken refugee camp on the Texas border to the buzzing city of San Antonio, where they work hard to build a new life. And for the first time ever, Petra has a chance to learn to read and write.
The Other Side: Stories of Central American Teen Refugees Who Dream of Crossing the Border
Every year, thousands of migrant children and teens cross the U.S.-Mexico border. The journey is treacherous and sometimes deadly, but worth the risk for migrants who are escaping gang violence and poverty in their home countries. And for those refugees who do succeed? They face an immigration process that is as winding and multi-tiered as the journey that brought them here.
The Tequila Worm
Sofia is a Mexican-American living in Texas. When she is accepted to a prestigious, predominantly white boarding school, she learns how to meld her Mexican-American roots with her new life. The author includes lots of detail about Mexican culture and heritage.
They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid's Poems
Twelve-year-old red-headed Güero is Mexican American, at home with Spanish or English and on both sides of the river. He’s starting 7th grade with a woke English teacher who knows how to make poetry cool. Trusting in his family’s traditions, his accordion and his bookworm squad, he faces seventh grade with book smarts and a big heart. Winner of the 2019 Walter Honor Book Award for Younger Readers and the Pura Belpré Author Honor Award.
Under the Mesquite
The oldest of eight siblings in her Mexican American family, Lupita is a talented actress and gifted writer. As she wonders what world she belongs in — across the border, taking her dying mother's place, or building a life of her own — she tells her story in verse, offering intimate access to the daily lives and conversation of family and friends and an outpouring of her innermost thoughts as she tries to find and establish her own identity. 2012 Pura Belpré Award Winner.
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