Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Diary From Here to There, by Amada Irma Perez

As we get ready to celebrate Columbus Day and Indigenous People's Day, I've been thinking about all the different ways people have moved to the United States.  An especially moving story is My Diary from Here to There, by Amada Irma Perez.
My Diary From Here to There/
Mi diario de aqui hasta alla

story by Amada Irma Perez
illustrations by Maya Christina Gonzalez
CA: Children's Book Pres, 2002
ages 4 - 10
Amada Irma Perez bases this wonderful picture book on her own life, following her family's journey from Mexico to the United States.  This story is told in diary entries, and so we see the family's journey completely from the child's perspective.  As the story begins, the young girl worries about her family's move from Juarez, Mexico, to Los Angeles. Will they ever return to Juarez? Will she be able to learn English?  Will her father have problems finding work?  She's full of worries, but her brothers can only think of the great big stores that sell all kinds of toys.  "Am I the only one who is scared of leaving our home, our beautiful country, and all the people we might never see again?" the young girl worries.

The story follows the family's anxious wait for their green cards, the long bus ride to San Ysidro, California and then to Los Angeles.  Throughout the journey, the young girl's father reassures her that she is stronger than she realizes, her family supports her, and her diary allows her to express her thoughts and feelings.  It makes a wonderful story to read aloud with younger children and older children alike.

Maya Christina Gonzales' vivid paintings sing with the warmth of family and the images of Mexico.  As one reviewer, Gina MarySol Ruiz, wrote, Gonzalez "has this way of capturing the very essence of the beauty that is the Mexican women - grace, strength, determination, warmth and most of all the love for familia that shines out of their eyes. Each illustration has a mural like quality and with each look, you find more and more to amaze at."

I discovered this wonderful story at my local bookstore, Mrs. Dalloway's in Berkeley. You can also find it at your  public library or on Amazon.  If you make a purchase by clicking through to Amazon, Great Kid Books receives a small percentage, which will be used to buy more books to review.

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