No one conveys the immigrant experience better than Julia Alvarez. “Return to Sender” is a perfect book for the classroom read this Hispanic Heritage Month.
Genre: Realistic Fiction Theme/Subject: Equality, Fairness, Justice,
Immigration Mexican and Mexican American Friends and Friendship
Subject: Language Arts and Social Studies
Summary: Julia Alvarez did an amazing work in her portrayal of the complexities of illegal immigration and the agricultural dependence on migrant workers in the United States. Brought to the States by her Mexican parents, Mari grows up and comes of age in North Carolina and Vermont. In the mean time, her two sisters were born in the United States, which automatically makes them American citizens. It’s a story of a family torn apart by legal status of citizenship in search of more permanent work, which takes them all the way from North Carolina to Vermont, where the men in the family get hired by a patriotic family in need of farm help. The plot gets much more complicated as the mother gets abducted by “coyotes” (human traffickers) and both families get entangled in the right and wrong of immigration policy and procedure. The novel offers a multidimensional story, but its authentic presentation draws readers’ interest and tells a complicated story with serious plot through dilemmas, conflict, alternatives, and solutions. Students whose families have long since settled, will be able to relate to the migrant and illegal immigration dilemma presently faced in our society.
Highly recommended for ages 10 and up.
“Nobody but nobody in America got here – except the Indians – without somebody giving them a chance.”
Lena M. Ed.