Stories About Unaccompanied Children and Youth

Enrique's Journey

These books tell the stories of unaccompanied minors who travel north. They also included detailed information about their harrowing journeys, the challenges they encounter when they arrive in the U.S., and their resilience and strength. 

Related films

These films tell the stories of children who are making the trip to el norte (The North) and provide a first-hand account of that dangerous journey.

Beast Rider

Orange, yellow, and black illustration of a boy standing on top of a train.
Age Level: 12-14

Twelve-year-old Manuel leaves his small town in Mexico to join his older brother in Los Angeles. To cross the US border, he must become a “beast rider”—someone who hops on a train. The first time he tries, he is stopped by the Mexican police, who arrest and beat him. When he tries again, he is attacked by a Mexican gang and left for dead. Just when Manuel is ready to turn back, he finds new hope. Villagers clothe and feed him, help him find work, and eventually boost him back onto the train. When he finally arrives in LA and is reunited with his brother, he is elated.

Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother (Adapted for Young Adults)

Age Level: 14-16

In 2007, Los Angeles Times reporter Sonia Nazario published Enrique's Journey, a book based on her Pulitzer-Prize winning reports about a teenage boy's harrowing trip north to the U.S. from Honduras to find his mother, who had immigrated to the U.S. eleven years earlier. Sonia has now published a Young Adult version of the compelling and gritty book adapted for readers 12 and older.

Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant's Tale

Age Level: 6-9

When the rains don't come in the spring, Papá Rabbit sets out north to work in the carrot and lettuce fields. He doesn't return when expected, however, and his eldest son, Pancho Rabbit, embarks on a journey to find his father. He meets a coyote who agrees to show him a shortcut, but only in exchange for Pancho's food. After an exhausting journey, Pancho is left with nothing — except the hope of finding his father.

The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind

Age Level: 14-16

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.

You Weren't with Me

Illustrated by: Erich Ippen Jr.
Age Level: 3-6
Language: Spanish

Little Rabbit and Big Rabbit are together after a difficult separation, but even though they missed each other, Little Rabbit is not ready to cuddle up and receive Big Rabbit's love. Little Rabbit needs Big Rabbit to understand what it felt like when they were apart. "Sometimes I am very mad. I don't understand why you weren't with me," says Little Rabbit, "I worry you will go away again." Big Rabbit listens carefully and helps Little Rabbit to feel understood and loved.