Boy of the Border

Overview

Penned by two of the most famous African American writers of the 1930s, this never-before-published coming-of-age story chronicles the adventures of a 12-year-old Mexican boy, Miguel Del Monte, who joins his uncle in herding wild broncos from northern Mexico to Los Angeles. Set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution, this historic tale follows Miguel as he embarks on this unexpected trip across the American Southwest desert, determined to prove himself brave and smart enough to deal with the anticipated ...

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Overview

Penned by two of the most famous African American writers of the 1930s, this never-before-published coming-of-age story chronicles the adventures of a 12-year-old Mexican boy, Miguel Del Monte, who joins his uncle in herding wild broncos from northern Mexico to Los Angeles. Set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution, this historic tale follows Miguel as he embarks on this unexpected trip across the American Southwest desert, determined to prove himself brave and smart enough to deal with the anticipated hardships. Along with a close encounter with roving bandits and the dangerous forces of nature, Miguel has bittersweet interactions with people of diverse racial and cultural groups, learning important lessons along the way. Separated into concise episodes and reflecting the beauty of various peoples, this collection depicts the power of tolerance and multicultural inclusion.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susan Borges
This wonderful story is a gift to middle school readers from two beloved African American writers. It is a riveting and sensitively-told story of twelve-year-old Miguel Del Monte and the adventures that test his bravery and his character as he travels with his uncle across the border from Mexico to Los Angeles in the 1930s. Significant details allow the reader to visualize the setting while vivid descriptions bring the story to life and help the reader understand the challenges of herding wild broncos through the rough and arid terrain. Wonderfully detailed illustrations greatly readers' understanding of the unfamiliar setting and a time when gypsies, hostile American Indians, and Mexicans clashed while fighting for survival in the open and sparsely populated rural border areas between the United States and Mexico. When Miguel leaves his village with his Uncle Mario he is inexperienced and unaware. He is untouched by the difficult, challenging, and frightening experiences that will test his character, integrity, and determination. Readers will come quickly to care deeply about Miguel as they witness the courage of Miguel's actions and interactions with his beloved uncle. This is a unique and uplifting coming-of-age story, beautifully written and carefully crafted to impart the important message of finding common ground and appreciating others. It is a call for inclusion, tolerance and understanding. I highly recommend this book. It is ripe for discussion and fills a void in juvenile literature for young people today. Reviewer: Susan Borges
Cleveland Plain Dealer
[Hughes's] fiction ... manifests his 'wonder of the world.' As these stories reveal, that wonder has lost little of its shine
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Longing to be as brave as his older brother, 12-year-old Miguel gets his wish when he accompanies his uncle on a trip from his Mexican village to Los Angeles to sell a herd of unbroken horses. Bandits, a fight with a gypsy boy, an unexpected swim, the birth of a colt, and a trail-concealing sandstorm are all part of Miguel's trip. The actual border-crossing is barely noticed. This resurrected 1930s manuscript reflects the early 20th-century era—a world of prosperous Mexican haciendas, cowboys and wild horses, and a Los Angeles in which Watts is a dusty suburb and automobiles are rare. An afterword details the history of the authors' efforts to write a positive junior novel about Mexicans, their unsuccessful attempts at publication (except for a condensed version in Jack and Jill in 1956), and the current publisher's discovery of the manuscript. Readers who get beyond the somewhat awkward introductory chapter will find that Miguel's adventures move briskly in self-contained third-person episodes with just enough detail to make the setting clear. Each chapter includes a carefully researched illustration. A period piece of particular interest to those who want to know more about the time and place.—Kathleen Isaacs, Children's Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MD
Kirkus Reviews
This rediscovered gem from two giants of the Harlem Renaissance is more than just an historical curiosity. Young Miguel is up for the adventure of a lifetime when he accompanies his Uncle Mario from his humble hometown in la frontera-the borderlands-to faraway Los Angeles. Once there, they will sell a herd of broncos and visit his Aunt Chona. Along the way, the party encounters bandits, sandstorms and gypsies and fords the Colorado River in epic fashion. Miguel makes new friends, trains a colt of his own and grows up a little bit. Despite the age of the story (it was written in the 1930s), the prose is both accessible to middle-grade readers and evocative of its Southwest setting. The only disappointment is that an intriguing legend about a mythic white stallion is introduced but never followed up. An afterword provides cultural and historical context for this solid, old-fashioned adventure tale. (Historical fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780979098703
  • Publisher: Sweet Earth Flying Press, LLC
  • Publication date: 11/24/2009
  • Pages: 115
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Arna Bontemps was a highly regarded poet and novelist during the Harlem Renaissance. He is the author of The Story of the Negro, which was a Newbery Honor Book and received the Jane Addams Book Award. Langston Hughes was a prolific poet, novelist, short story writer, playwright, journalist, and author of children's books. He was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance and the author of The Best of Simple, Not Without Laughter, and The Ways of White Folks. They are the coauthors of The Pasteboard Bandit and Popo and Fifina. Antonio Castro L. is the illustrator of The Green Bird, The Gum-Chewing Rattler, and The Treasure on Gold Street. His work has been featured in museums and galleries in the United States, Mexico, Spain, and Italy. He lives in El Paso, Texas.

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