Return to Sender
by Alvarez, Julia






After his family hires migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure, eleven-year-old Tyler befriends the oldest daughter, but when he discovers they may not be in the country legally, he realizes that real friendship knows no borders.





Julia Alvarez is the author of several novels for young readers including How Tía Lola Came to Visit Stay, Finding Miracles, and Before We Were Free,winner of the ALA's Pura Belpré Award. Her books for adults include How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, In the Time of the Butterflies,and Once Upon a Quinceañera. She is a writer-in-residence at Middlebury College in Vermont.





With quiet drama, Alvarez tells a contemporary immigration story through the alternating viewpoints of two young people in Vermont. After 11-year-old Tyler's father is injured in a tractor accident, the family is in danger of losing their dairy farm. Desperate for help, Tyler s family employs Mari s family, who are illegal migrant Mexican workers. Mari writes heartrending letters and diary entries, especially about Mamá, who has disappeared during a trip to Mexico to visit Mari's dying abuelita. Is Mamá in the hands of the border-crossing "coyotes"? Have they hurt her? Will Homeland Security (la migra) raid the farm? The plot is purposive, with messages about the historical connections between migrant workers today and the Indians displacement, the Underground Railroad, and earlier immigrants seeking refuge. But the young people s voices make for a fast read; the characters, including the adults, are drawn with real complexity; and the questions raised about the meaning of patriotism will spark debate. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.





Tyler is the son of generations of Vermont dairy farmers. Mari is the Mexican-born daughter of undocumented migrant laborers whose mother has vanished in a perilous border crossing. When Tyler's father is disabled in an accident, the only way the family can afford to keep the farm is by hiring Mari's family. As Tyler and Mari's friendship grows, the normal tensions of middle-school boy-girl friendships are complicated by philosophical and political truths. Tyler wonders how he can be a patriot while his family breaks the law. Mari worries about her vanished mother and lives in fear that she will be separated from her American-born sisters if la migra comes. Unashamedly didactic, Alvarez's novel effectively complicates simple equivalencies between what's illegal and what's wrong. Mari's experience is harrowing, with implied atrocities and immigration raids, but equally full of good people doing the best they can. The two children find hope despite the unhappily realistic conclusions to their troubles, in a story which sees the best in humanity alongside grim realities. Though it lacks nuance, still a must-read. (Fiction. 9-11) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.






Terms of Use   ©Copyright 2019 Follett School Solutions