Enrique's Journey: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with His Mother
Nazario, Sonia. Enrique's Journey: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with His Mother. Delacorte, 2013. 288pp. Lexile 770.
This complex, moving story focuses on one of the 100,000 children and teens who leave Central America and Mexico each year to try to cross the border into the U.S. Nazario, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her L.A. Times series on the topic, located and interviewed an impoverished boy from Honduras whom she calls Enrique. His mother left for the U.S. when he was five, hoping to send money back to Enrique and his sister to build a better life. When he was 17, the boy decided to seek out the mother he hadn’t seen since she left. He tries multiple times to make his way to the U.S. border but is sent back by immigration officials. The journey entails riding on the roofs of trains where many young people are injured or die. They are also vulnerable to bandits and corrupt officials, illness and lack of food. Stark details about his attempts and his mother’s tough life in the U.S. will draw in readers and open their eyes to a modern tragedy.
Reading Std #3: Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Although Enrique hasn’t seen his mother since he was five, she has always played a large role in his life. Have students cite specifics in the text to describe how Enrique and his mother interact over the course of the book, and how their relationship evolves. What are their feelings about each other and how do those change? How realistic are their hopes about reuniting and what it might mean to them? Note: Like many memoirs and biographies, this does not meet CCSS Lexile levels for middle school yet it is a strong choice for that age group and will introduce many readers to a part of our world they don't know.