Santiago's Road Home
Book cover
Author(s): Alexandra Diaz
Publisher: Paula Wiseman Books (Simon & Schuster)
Copyright Year: 2020
ISBN/ISSN: 9781534446236
Review

Alexandra Diaz, recipient of a Pura Belpré Honor and writer and daughter of Cuban refugees, has produced a Dickensian tale of children who become "Dreamers" in search of a new life in the United States. Twelve-year-old Santiago doesn't trust the future. After his mom's death, Santiago is bounced from his abusive grandmother to the home of his aunt and uncle, who are also looking after his cousins. When Santiago capitalizes on an opportunity to run away, he is lucky enough to meet teen mother Maria Dolores and her toddler on his way, and ultimately decides he wants to cross the border with them to the United States. After a harrowing trip with a local "coyote," the trio are left to fend for themselves in the desert with limited supplies and water. After suffering dehydration and heat exhaustion, they are separated at an immigration holding center. Readers partake in Santiago's painful prison-like experience in a holding center where genders and family members are separated. Diaz makes powerful statements about the corruption and nightmarish realities surrounding the holding centers, including the fact that people are not always returned to their countries and are frequently returned in worse condition than before they left. Text includes a glossary of Spanish words, a further reading list of picture, middle, YA, and adult books, with nonfiction and web resources, and an author's note about holding centers. Book lovers will appreciate how Santiago flourishes while learning to read and help out during juvenile storytime. While there are more and more books being published about Dreamers, there are not many out there which expose the deplorable conditions of the displaced persons centers, a part of the story all Americans need to learn.

Reviewer: Laura Dooley-Taylor, Librarian, Lake Zurich Middle School North, Hawthorn Woods , IL
Rating: Highly Recommended
Grade (as stated by Reviewer/SLC): 6-8
Review Date: May 1, 2020
Product Description
A young boy gets detained by ICE while crossing the border from Mexico to the United States in this timely and unflinching novel by award-winning author Alexandra Diaz.

The bed creaks under Santiago's shivering body. They say a person's life flashes by before dying. But it's not his whole life. Just the events that led to this. The important ones, and the ones Santiago would rather forget.

The coins in Santiago's hand are meant for the bus fare back to his abusive abuela's house. Except he refuses to return; he won't be missed. His future is uncertain until he meets the kind, maternal María Dolores and her young daughter, Alegría, who help Santiago decide what comes next: He will accompany them to el otro lado, the United States of America. They embark with little, just backpacks with water and a bit of food. To travel together will require trust from all parties, and Santiago is used to going it alone. None of the three travelers realizes that the journey through Mexico to the border is just the beginning of their story.
Media Type: Book, eBook
Binding: HC
# Pages: 336
Price: $17.99
Genre: Fiction
Sub-Genre: Realistic Fiction
Entry ID: 2234105

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