Jaime and Ángela discover what it means to be living as undocumented immigrants in the United States in this timely sequel to the Pura Belpré Honor Book The Only Road.
After crossing Mexico into the United States, Jaime Rivera thinks the worst is over. Starting a new school can’t be that bad. Except it is, and not just because he can barely speak English. While his cousin Ángela fits in quickly, with new friends and after-school activities, Jaime struggles with even the idea of calling this strange place “home.” His real home is with his parents, abuela, and the rest of the family; not here where cacti and cattle outnumber people, where he can no longer be himself—a boy from Guatemala.
When bad news arrives from his parents back home, feelings of helplessness and guilt gnaw at Jaime. Gang violence in Guatemala means he can’t return home, but he’s not sure if he wants to stay either. The US is not the great place everyone said it would be, especially if you’re sin papeles—undocumented—like Jaime. When things look bleak, hope arrives from unexpected places: a quiet boy on the bus, a music teacher, an old ranch hand. With his sketchbook always close by, Jaime uses his drawings to show what it means to be a true citizen.
Powerful and moving, this touching sequel to The Only Road explores overcoming homesickness, finding ways to connect despite a language barrier, and discovering what it means to start over in a new place that alternates between being wonderful and completely unwelcoming.
World rights: Paula Wiseman Books, Simon & Schuster (September 2018)
Alexandra Diaz has written both YA and MG. Her debut, WHEN WE WERE, was initially published by Egmont USA, but is now available in e-book from Paper Lantern Lit’s digital imprint, Studio. She also has an MG novel – THE OPEN ROAD – out with Simon & Schuster. It is a story of the perils and stresses of illegal immigration in the USA. Besides these, Alexandra has written for various packagers.
Alexandra grew up in a bilingual Spanish/English-speaking family in various parts of the US, but has also lived in Puerto Rico, Austria, and Britain. She graduated in English and Communications at Lake Forest College in the US, but went on to receive her MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University in England.
Her writing has appeared in newspapers, literary magazines, children’s magazines, foreign-language magazines, websites, and anthologies. She has also written two one-act plays which have been performed at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago Illinois and The Rondo Theatre in Bath, England.
Although writing is the only career she ever wanted, Alexandra has worked as a nanny, teacher, web designer, financial administrator, and waitress to name but a few.