Enrique's Journey

Enrique's Journey

4.1 51
by Sonia Nazario

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This book addresses the issues of family and illegal immigration through the story of a young boy's dangerous journey from Honduras to the U.S. in search of his mother, who left him and his sibling behind to make a better life for her family.  See more details below


This book addresses the issues of family and illegal immigration through the story of a young boy's dangerous journey from Honduras to the U.S. in search of his mother, who left him and his sibling behind to make a better life for her family.

Editorial Reviews

For the sake of her five-year-old son, Enrique, Honduran single mom Lourdes emigrated alone to the United States to find work. She promised to return, but years passed without only some letters and an occasional phone call. Finally, 11 years later, the boy impetuously set off for America without money or even a passport, his hopes for reunion with his mother hanging on a slip of paper with her North Carolina telephone number. Based on a Los Angeles Times series that won two Pulitzer Prizes, Enrique's Journey retraces the dangerous trek of an illegal alien on a mission of love.
Luis Alberto Urrea
Joseph Campbell would recognize Enrique's Journey . It's the stuff of myth. A lone child embarks on a terrible journey through a landscape of monsters and villains. His goal is noble, almost chivalric -- he travels through hardship and dangers to find his mother, lost in the far mysteries of the north. To add another layer to the story, it contains a vehicle right out of a fairy tale: a Fury-haunted freight train known as El Tren de la Muerte -- the Train of Death.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Soon to be turned into an HBO dramatic series, Nazario's account of a 17-year-old boy's harrowing attempt to find his mother in America won two Pulitzer Prizes when it first came out in the Los Angeles Times. Greatly expanded with fresh research, the story also makes a gripping book, one that viscerally conveys the experience of illegal immigration from Central America. Enrique's mother, Lourdes, left him in Honduras when he was five years old because she could barely afford to feed him and his sister, much less send them to school. Her plan was to sneak into the United States for a few years, work hard, send and save money, then move back to Honduras to be with her children. But 12 years later, she was still living in the U.S. and wiring money home. That's when Enrique became one of the thousands of children and teens who try to enter the U.S. illegally each year. Riding on the tops of freight trains through Mexico, these young migrants are preyed upon by gangsters and corrupt government officials. Many of them are mutilated by the journey; some go crazy. The breadth and depth of Nazario's research into this phenomenon is astounding, and she has crafted her findings into a story that is at once moving and polemical. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb. 28) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
One million people enter the United States legally each year, and another 700,000 arrive illegally, according to Nazario (Los Angeles Times), who won the Pulitzer Prize for her newspaper story on which this book is based. Here, she retraces the travel of immigrants from Central America to El Norte and writes brilliantly about the trials and tribulations that besiege the journey. Specifically, she focuses on a Honduran boy, Enrique, left behind by his mother, Lourdes, who fled to the United States, like many Central American women before her, to make enough money to give her children a better life back home and ultimately return to them. Although such women believe that they have made the right decision and that their time away will be brief, this often is not the case. Enrique is emblematic of many lonely children, feeling abandoned and missing their mothers, who decide to seek a reunion by traveling north through Mexico and, illegally, into the United States. They risk assault, robbery, rape, and even murder in the process. Sadly, the reunions between mothers and children-who felt abandoned-deteriorate to blame and resentment. Enrique's Journey is insightful and beautifully written and sheds a great deal of light on the horrific journeys immigrants risk to find a better life. Highly recommended for all libraries.-Tim Delaney, SUNY at Oswego Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Seeking to understand why Latina single mothers leave their children to come to the U.S., and why many children undertake the hazardous journey to reunite with them, Nazario traced one family's story. Enrique was determined to find his mother, who left him in Honduras when he was five. At 16, after seven attempts to make it to Texas, robbed by bandits or police, beaten, jailed, and deported again and again, he finally reached the Rio Grande and earned enough to call her. She sent him money to pay a "coyote" to smuggle him across the border and the two were reunited, but they are strangers now, their relationship strained. Meanwhile, Enrique's girlfriend in Honduras bore his child. Ultimately, she joined him, leaving their three-year-old daughter behind. Mothers leave their children to send back money for better food, clothing, and schooling, yet years of separation strain family ties. The author retraced Enrique's journey by traveling on top of trains, hitchhiking, taking buses, facing the dangers the teen faced. Photographs and interviews with him, family members, other children, and those who provide aid along the way document the hazards of migration. Descriptions of rapes, beatings, and jailing of immigrant children and accounts of those who suffered loss of limbs falling from freight trains are graphic and disturbing. But no one can doubt the authenticity of this reporting.-Molly Connally, Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An expanded version of Nazario's Pulitzer Prize-winning articles, originally published in the Los Angeles Times, about the harrowing journey hopeful immigrants take from Central America through Mexico into the U.S. The twist on this familiar story is that in recent years, a growing number of America's illegal immigrants are women. Unable to feed and clothe their children, they leave their homes in Honduras or Guatemala and head for a better life in el Norte. Once in America, Mami sends back as much money as she possibly can and promises to return to her children as soon as she builds up a nest egg. But low-paying jobs as nannies or maids don't allow the women to save much, so immigrant mothers don't return home for years, if ever. Their children, too young to understand the heartbreaking calculus of economics and maternal self-sacrifice, feel abandoned. Some of them eventually undertake the pilgrimage through Mexico and across the border, hoping to reunite with their mothers. Nazario's account focuses on Enrique, left in Honduras by his mother Lourdes when he was six. Eleven years later, he decides it is time to find her. He must avoid immigration offices, who would send him back home, and the gangsters who regularly steal from, rape and even murder migrants. Enrique risks his life, riding through Mexico on the roofs of what child migrants call El Tren de la Muerte (the Train of Death). Enrique makes it to North Carolina, but he and Lourdes are in for an emotional shock. During the long years of separation, mother and son have idealized one another; their reunion exposes resentments that have festered over the years. This portrait of poverty and family ties has the potential to reshapeAmerican conversations about immigration.
From the Publisher
Praise & Awards for Enrique’s Journey

2011 Williams College Book Award Program, for “Enrique’s Journey”
2006 California Book Award, Silver Medal, Non-fiction
2006 Christopher Book Award
2003 Pulitzer Prize, feature writing, for “Enrique’s Journey”
2002 George Polk Award for International Reporting, for “Enrique’s Journey”
2002 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Outstanding Coverage of the Problems of the Disadvantaged, Grand Prize Winner, for “Enrique’s Journey”

"A prodigious feat of reporting . . . vivid and detailed . . . [Nazario is] amazingly thorough and intrepid.”—Newsday

“A stirring and troubling book about a magnificent journey. . . . It’s the stuff of myth . . . [but] Enrique’s Journey is true . . . A microcosm of the massive exodus pouring over the borders of our nations. . . . Enrique's suffering and bravery become universal, and one cannot fail to be moved by the desperation and sheer strength of spirit that guides these lonely wanderers. . . . Enrique’s Journey is about love. It’s about family. It’s about home. . . . The border will continue to trouble the dreams of anyone who is paying attention. . . . Enrique’s Journey is among the best border books yet written.”—The Washington Post Book World

“An amazing tale . . . for some journalists, research means sitting at a computer and surfing Google . . . For Sonia Nazario . . . it means leaving home for months at a time to sit on top of a moving freight train running the length of Mexico, risking gangsters and bandits and the occasional tree branch that might knock her off and thrust her under the wheels. It means not eating, drinking water or going to the bathroom for 16-hour stretches-all in service to the story.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Compelling . . . Nazario doesn’t pull any punches.”—Dallas Morning News

“[A] searing report from the immigration frontlines . . . as harrowing as it is heartbreaking. . . . [Nazario] is a fearless reporter who traveled hundreds of miles atop freight trains in order to palpably re-create the danger that faces young migrants as they flee north.”—People (four stars)

“Astounding . . . I am unaware of any journalist who has voluntarily placed herself in greater peril to nail down a story than did Nazario.”— Steve Weinberg, former Executive Director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, The Baltimore Sun
“A story of heartache, brutality, and love deferred that is near mythic in its power.”—Los Angeles Magazine

“Stunning . . . As an adventure narrative alone, Enrique’s Journey is a worthy read. . . . Nazario’s impressive piece of reporting . . . turn[s] the current immigration controversy from a political story into a personal one.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Gripping . . . astounding . . . viscerally conveys the experience of illegal immigration from Central America . . . [Nazario] has crafted her findings into a story that is at once moving and polemical.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A remarkable feat of immersion reporting . . . [Gives] the immigrant . . . flesh and bone, history and voice . . . The kind of story we have told ourselves throughout history, a story we still need to hear.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review

“This portrait of poverty and family ties has the potential to reshape American conversations about immigration.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A meticulously documented account of an epic journey, one undertaken by thousands of children every year . . . [Nazario] covers both positive and negative effects of immigration, illuminating the problem’s complexity. . . . In telling Enrique’s story [she] bears witness for us all.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Gripping and harrowing . . . a story begging to be told . . . readers fed up with the ongoing turf wars between fact and fiction, take note: Here is fantastic stunt reporting that places this sometimes hard-to-believe story squarely in the realm of nonfiction.”—The Christian Science Monitor

“Compelling . . . drama, pathos, and [the] hot topic of illegal immigration.”—The San Diego Union-Tribune

“[Enrique’s Journey] personifies one of the greatest migrations in history. . . . Much of the book is a thriller . . . a 12,000-mile journey worthy of an Indiana Jones movie.”—The Orange County Register

“Riveting . . . expert reporting . . . Nazario puts a human face upon a major issue. . . . The breadth and depth of [her] research is astounding.”—The Plain Dealer

“A heart-racing and heart-rending trip.”—The Daily Nonpareil

 “Insightful and beautifully written and sheds a great deal of light on the horrific journeys immigrants risk to find a better life. Highly recommended.”—Library Journal

“A story readers won’t soon forget.”—Tu Ciudad

“This is a harrowing odyssey that depicts one young man's attempts to reunite with his mother and the social and economic issues involved in illegal immigration.”—Booklist

“This is a twenty-first-century Odyssey. Nazario’s powerful writing illuminates one of the darkest stories in our country. This is outstanding journalism. If you are going to read only one non-fiction book this year, it has to be this one, because you know these young heroes. They live next door. . . .”—Isabel Allende
Enrique’s Journey is an empathetic glimpse into the Faustian bargain made by immigrants who leave family behind for a bet on the rewards of life in the North. Sonia Nazario’s brave reporting focuses particularly on a consequence of one woman’s departure from Central America: the horrific gauntlet suffered by her son as he traverses Mexico, often in the company of similar children, all of them in search of their parents.”—Ted Conover

“Here is an account of a boy’s childhood and youth that becomes a powerfully instructive summons to us readers, who grow into Enrique’s grateful, spellbound students. His life, his vivid search, teach a haunting lesson of suffering that turns into a kind of redemption.”—Robert Coles

Enrique's Journey is an important, compelling, harrowing tale, one which will long stay with you. We should all be grateful that Sonia Nazario went to such extraordinary lengths to bring us this story. This is reportage at its finest, both courageous and passionate.”—Alex Kotlowitz

Enrique’s Journey is the odyssey of our time and place. The story of a boy’s brave and harrowing search for the mother who loved him but left is the most telling, moving, and unsparing account I have ever read about those who struggle and sacrifice to give their families better lives, and the loneliness and regret that no success can ever fully put to rest. It is a great American—I emphasize that—story, beautifully reported.”—Scott Simon

“Gripping, heroic and important, Enrique's Journey captures the heart. Most Americans or their forebears came to the United States from other countries. They experienced difficult journeys and wrenching family separations-all in the hope of finding a better life in this new land. Enrique's story is our story, beautifully told.”—Edward James Olmos

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Product Details

Random House Inc
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Enrique's Journey

By Sonia Nazario

Random House

Sonia Nazario
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1400062055

Chapter One


The Boy Left Behind

The boy does not understand.

His mother is not talking to him. She will not even look at him. Enrique has no hint of what she is going to do.

Lourdes knows. She understands, as only a mother can, the terror she is about to inflict, the ache Enrique will feel, and finally the emptiness.

What will become of him? Already he will not let anyone else feed or bathe him. He loves her deeply, as only a son can. With Lourdes, he is openly affectionate. "Dame pico, mami. Give me a kiss, Mom," he pleads, over and over, pursing his lips. With Lourdes, he is a chatterbox. "Mira, mami. Look, Mom," he says softly, asking her questions about everything he sees. Without her, he is so shy it is crushing.

Slowly, she walks out onto the porch. Enrique clings to her pant leg. Beside her, he is tiny. Lourdes loves him so much she cannot bring herself to say a word. She cannot carry his picture. It would melt her resolve. She cannot hug him. He is five years old.

They live on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, in Honduras. She can barely afford food for him and his sister, Belky, who is seven. She's never been able to buy them a toy or a birthday cake. Lourdes, twenty-four, scrubs other people's laundry in a muddy river. She goes door to door, selling tortillas, used clothes, and plantains.

She fills a wooden box with gum and crackers and cigarettes, and she finds a spot where she can squat on a dusty sidewalk next to the downtown Pizza Hut and sell the items to passersby. The sidewalk is Enrique's playground.

They have a bleak future. He and Belky are not likely to finish grade school. Lourdes cannot afford uniforms or pencils. Her husband is gone. A good job is out of the question.

Lourdes knows of only one place offers hope. As a seven-year-old child, delivering tortillas her mother made to wealthy homes, she glimpsed this place on other people's television screens. The flickering images were a far cry from Lourdes's childhood home: a two-room shack made of wooden slats, its flimsy tin roof weighted down with rocks, the only bathroom a clump of bushes outside. On television, she saw New York City's spectacular skyline, Las Vegas's shimmering lights, Disneyland's magic castle.

Lourdes has decided: She will leave. She will go to the United States and make money and send it home. She will be gone for one year--less, with luck--or she will bring her children to be with her. It is for them she is leaving, she tells herself, but still she feels guilty.

She kneels and kisses Belky and hugs her tightly. Then she turns to her own sister. If she watches over Belky, she will get a set of gold fingernails from el Norte.

But Lourdes cannot face Enrique. He will remember only one thing that she says to him: "Don't forget to go to church this afternoon."

It is January 29, 1989. His mother steps off the porch.

She walks away.

"¿Dónde está mi mami?" Enrique cries, over and over. "Where is my mom?"

His mother never returns, and that decides Enrique's fate. As a teenager--indeed, still a child--he will set out for the United States on his own to search for her. Virtually unnoticed, he will become one of an estimated 48,000 children who enter the United States from Central America and Mexico each year, illegally and without either of their parents. Roughly two thirds of them will make it past the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Many go north seeking work. Others flee abusive families. Most of the Central Americans go to reunite with a parent, say counselors at a detention center in Texas where the INS houses the largest number of the unaccompanied children it catches. Of those, the counselors say, 75 percent are looking for their mothers. Some children say they need to find out whether their mothers still love them. A priest at a Texas shelter says they often bring pictures of themselves in their mothers' arms.

The journey is hard for the Mexicans but harder still for Enrique and the others from Central America. They must make an illegal and dangerous trek up the length of Mexico. Counselors and immigration lawyers say only half of them get help from smugglers. The rest travel alone. They are cold, hungry, and helpless. They are hunted like animals by corrupt police, bandits, and gang members deported from the United States. A University of Houston study found that most are robbed, beaten, or raped, usually several times. Some are killed.

They set out with little or no money. Thousands, shelter workers say, make their way through Mexico clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains. Since the 1990s, Mexico and the United States have tried to thwart them. To evade Mexican police and immigration authorities, the children jump onto and off of the moving train cars. Sometimes they fall, and the wheels tear them apart.

They navigate by word of mouth or by the arc of the sun. Often, they don't know where or when they'll get their next meal. Some go days without eating. If a train stops even briefly, they crouch by the tracks, cup their hands, and steal sips of water from shiny puddles tainted with diesel fuel. At night, they huddle together on the train cars or next to the tracks. They sleep in trees, in tall grass, or in beds made of leaves.

Some are very young. Mexican rail workers have encountered seven-year-olds on their way to find their mothers. A policeman discovered a nine-year-old boy near the downtown Los Angeles tracks. "I'm looking for my mother," he said. The youngster had left Puerto Cortes in Honduras three months before. He had been guided only by his cunning and the single thing he knew about her: where she lived. He had asked everyone, "How do I get to San Francisco?"

Typically, the children are teenagers. Some were babies when their mothers left; they know them only by pictures sent home. Others, a bit older, struggle to hold on to memories: One has slept in her mother's bed; another has smelled her perfume, put on her deodorant, her clothes. One is old enough to remember his mother's face, another her laugh, her favorite shade of lipstick, how her dress felt as she stood at the stove patting tortillas.

Many, including Enrique, begin to idealize their mothers. They remember how their mothers fed and bathed them, how they walked them to kindergarten. In their absence, these mothers become larger than life. Although in the United States the women struggle to pay rent and eat, in the imaginations of their children back home they become deliverance itself, the answer to every problem. Finding them becomes the quest for the Holy Grail.


Enrique is bewildered. Who will take care of him now that his mother is gone? Lourdes, unable to burden her family with both of her children, has split them up. Belky stayed with Lourdes's mother and sisters. For two years, Enrique is entrusted to his father, Luis, from whom his mother has been separated for three years.

Enrique clings to his daddy, who dotes on him. A bricklayer, his father takes Enrique to work and lets him help mix mortar. They live with Enrique's grandmother. His father shares a bed with him and brings him apples and clothes. Every month, Enrique misses his mother less, but he does not forget her. "When is she coming for me?" he asks.

Lourdes and her smuggler cross Mexico on buses. Each afternoon, she closes her eyes. She imagines herself home at dusk, playing with Enrique under a eucalyptus tree in her mother's front yard. Enrique straddles a broom, pretending it's a donkey, trotting around the muddy yard. Each afternoon, she presses her eyes shut and tears fall. Each afternoon, she reminds herself that if she is weak, if she does not keep moving forward, her children will pay.

Lourdes crosses into the United States in one of the largest immigrant waves in the country's history. She enters at night through a rat-infested Tijuana sewage tunnel and makes her way to Los Angeles. There, in the downtown Greyhound bus terminal, the smuggler tells Lourdes to wait while he runs a quick errand. He'll be right back. The smuggler has been paid to take her all the way to Miami.

Three days pass. Lourdes musses her filthy hair, trying to blend in with the homeless and not get singled out by police. She prays to God to put someone before her, to show her the way. Whom can she reach out to for help? Starved, she starts walking. East of downtown, Lourdes spots a small factory. On the loading dock, under a gray tin roof, women sort red and green tomatoes. She begs for work. As she puts tomatoes into boxes, she hallucinates that she is slicing open a juicy one and sprinkling it with salt. The boss pays her $14 for two hours' work. Lourdes's brother has a friend in Los Angeles who helps Lourdes get a fake Social Security card and a job.

She moves in with a Beverly Hills couple to take care of their three-year-old daughter. Their spacious home has carpet on the floors and mahogany panels on the walls. Her employers are kind. They pay her $125 a week. She gets nights and weekends off. Maybe, Lourdes tells herself--if she stays long enough--they will help her become legal.

Every morning as the couple leave for work, the little girl cries for her mother. Lourdes feeds her breakfast and thinks of Enrique and Belky. She asks herself: "Do my children cry like this? I'm giving this girl food she says to herself, instead of feeding my own children." To get the girl to eat, Lourdes pretends the spoon is an airplane. But each time the spoon lands in the girl's mouth, Lourdes is filled with sadness.

In the afternoon, after the girl comes home from prekindergarten class, they thumb through picture books and play. The girl, so close to Enrique's age, is a constant reminder of her son. Many afternoons, Lourdes cannot contain her grief. She gives the girl a toy and dashes into the kitchen. There, out of sight, tears flow. After seven months, she cannot take it. She quits and moves to a friend's place in Long Beach.

Boxes arrive in Tegucigalpa bearing clothes, shoes, toy cars, a Robocop doll, a television. Lourdes writes: Do they like the things she is sending? She tells Enrique to behave, to study hard. She has hopes for him: graduation from high school, a white-collar job, maybe as an engineer. She pictures her son working in a crisp shirt and shiny shoes. She says she loves him.

Enrique asks about his mother. "She'll be home soon," his grandmother assures him. "Don't worry. She'll be back."

But his mother does not come. Her disappearance is incomprehensible. Enrique's bewilderment turns to confusion and then to adolescent anger.

When Enrique is seven, his father brings a woman home. To her, Enrique is an economic burden. One morning, she spills hot cocoa and burns him. His father throws her out. But their separation is brief.

"Mom," Enrique's father tells the grandmother, "I can't think of anyone but that woman."

Enrique's father bathes, dresses, splashes on cologne, and follows her. Enrique tags along and begs to stay with him. But his father tells him to go back to his grandmother.

His father begins a new family. Enrique sees him rarely, usually by chance. In time, Enrique's love turns to contempt. "He doesn't love me. He loves the children he has with his wife," he tells Belky. "I don't have a dad."

His father notices. "He looks at me as if he wasn't my son, as if he wants to strangle me," he tells Enrique's grandmother. Most of the blame, his father decides, belongs to Enrique's mother. "She is the one who promised to come back."

For Belky, their mother's disappearance is just as distressing. She lives with Aunt Rosa Amalia, one of her mother's sisters. On Mother's Day, Belky struggles through a celebration at school. That night she cries quietly, alone in her room. Then she scolds herself. She should thank her mother for leaving; without the money she sends for books and uniforms, Belky could not even attend school. She reminds herself of all the other things her mother ships south: Reebok tennis shoes, black sandals, the yellow bear and pink puppy stuffed toys on her bed. She commiserates with a friend whose mother has also left. They console each other. They know a girl whose mother died of a heart attack. At least, they say, ours are alive.

But Rosa Amalia thinks the separation has caused deep emotional problems. To her, it seems that Belky is struggling with an unavoidable question: How can I be worth anything if my mother left me?

"There are days," Belky tells Aunt Rosa Amalia, "when I wake up and feel so alone." Belky is temperamental. Sometimes she stops talking to everyone. When her mood turns dark, her grandmother warns the other children in the house, "¡Pórtense bien porque la marea anda brava! You better behave, because the seas are choppy!"

Confused by his mother's absence, Enrique turns to his grandmother. Alone now, he and his father's elderly mother share a shack thirty feet square. María Marcos built it herself of wooden slats. Enrique can see daylight in the cracks. It has four rooms, three without electricity. There is no running water. Gutters carry rain off the patched tin roof into two barrels. A trickle of cloudy white sewage runs past the front gate. On a well-worn rock nearby, Enrique's grandmother washes musty used clothing she sells door to door. Next to the rock is the latrine--a concrete hole. Beside it are buckets for bathing.

The shack is in Carrizal, one of Tegucigalpa's poorest neighborhoods. Sometimes Enrique looks across the rolling hills to the neighborhood where he and his mother lived and where Belky still lives with their mother's family. They are six miles apart. They hardly ever visit.

Lourdes sends Enrique $50 a month, occasionally $100, sometimes nothing. It is enough for food but not for school clothes, fees, notebooks, or pencils, which are expensive in Honduras. There is never enough for a birthday present.


Excerpted from Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Sonia Nazario, a projects reporter for the Los Angeles Times, has spent more than two decades reporting and writing about social issues, earning her dozens of national awards. The newspaper series upon which this book is based won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing, the George Polk Award for International Reporting, and the Grand Prize of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards. Nazario grew up in Kansas and Argentina. She is a graduate of Williams College and has a master’s degree in Latin American studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband. For more information, visit www.enriquesjourney.com.
To schedule a speaking engagement, please contact American Program Bureau at www.apbspeakers.com  

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Enrique's Journey 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seven times Enrique is caught and returned to Honduras. Despite these initial failures and being robbed by gangs and Mexican police, Enrique tries again. (Being robbed meant that Enrique had to stop and earn money from time to time for food, or beg for food - an activity that risked being reported to the police.) After about two months he makes it to the Rio Grande (at one point estimating that about 200 other illegals were riding the same train in Mexico; many lose limbs or lives from falls), phones his mother, and she arranges to pay $1,700 for him to be smuggled to Orlando, Fl. (Many coyotes are dishonest and simply take the money and disappear. Similarly, many U.S. "immigration counselors" are also bogus - Enrique's mother lost almost $4,000 to them.) Every woman Nazario interviewed in the U.S. who had left children behind thought the separation would be brief. Reality is it takes years and years to reunite, and by the time it happens the children are usually very angry - feeling abandoned. Too often the boys seek out gangs to try and find the love they sought from their mothers; too often the girls get pregnant and form their own families. Most children who set out to rejoining their mothers don't make it. "Enrique's Journey" also provides interesting comparisons between Mexico and the U.S. Illegals in Mexico mostly travel by train (averaging 7 - 30 different rides), are aggressively pursued and often abused by law enforcement throughout the country, frequently are taken advantage of by employers, and are feared and resented by locals (theft, violence). In the U.S. illegals mostly travel by vehicle, are aggressively pursued primarily only at the border, are treated humanely by law enforcement, frequently are taken advantage of by employers, and also are feared and resented by many locals. So where does Presidente Fox get his high and mighty attitude towards the U.S.? Well written, backed by real documentation.     
markpsadler More than 1 year ago
I have read umpteen books over the last six months on the subject on migrants leaving their Central American or Mexican homes for a shot at the dream of living in Ther United States. The ones that come here are predominantly wonderful loving parents ready to work hard and send the money they make back to the families so they can survive a little better than most of the people left behind to the abject poverty in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala etc. Their stories are always tragic full of loneliness, abuse and death. The people attacking them are robbers, gang members and renegade police officers, each countries el migra, ready to put a hold on the dream A hold is all that it is. These people are determined to run away from the poverty their lives have given them, willing to risk life and limb to reach loved ones who have gone ahead. I have to highlight Enrique's Journey as the one most exceptional tale that I have read on this subject. While other authors too have travelled with migrants to trace their stories and steps none have done it as efficiently, none have laid bare the awful tragedy or shown the determination of the people she followed so graphically than journalist and authorr, Sonia Nazario. Having met seventeen year-old Enrique's she goes about back-tracking, following up on every detail of his story from visiting his home town, interviewing his relatives, riding El Tran de la Muerte and witnessing for herself the terror of bandits on the roof of the train carriages, of people falling or being knocked from their perches to fall on the rails to perish or to lose a limb. She stopped and interviewed the priests that helped the migrants with food and shelter, the ones that stood in harms way to help strangers. In short everywhere Enrique went so did she. The story she wrote is adapted from the news story she earned a Pulitzer prize for and takes the reader along on the torturous decisions that humans make to leave their small children to give them a better life and how those same separated children so often turn to drugs and crime before making the decision to travel to America to find their family. We feel the agony of the attacks on the physical bodies - Enrique was thwarted seven times before finally reaching the promised land - and we gather into our souls the love expressed by the folk that help those worse off from themselves as they throw food and clothes to the trainriders. For the priests and health-workers that administer spiritual and physical food Nazario shows a side of humans that I have not seen described in other border crossing tomes. She brings indignation, faith, a feeling of hopelessness that one cannot do more and intense feeling to her writing. I shed a tear or two in the dramatic tale of Enrique's Journey
SAMillerInIA More than 1 year ago
I normally do not enjoy non fiction books, but the author's style of writing, as well as her in-depth personal experience with researching this story made for compelling reading. No matter where you stand on immigration or immigration reform, this book goes beyond that topic, touching on the more important aspects of legal and illegal immigration: how it affects families and societal structure throughout the Americas.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After Enrique's mother leaves to go to the U.S. to support her family with the little money she can send to them, Enrique can not understand why she has left him. He tries many times to make it to America to find his mother but is often sent back to Honduras where he waits until he can try again. He eventually makes it to 'el norte' on his 8th attempt. 'Enrique's Journey' shows the hardships that kids as young as 7 go through to be reunited with their mothers. It also shows the dangers of riding the trains whether it be corrupt police, bandits, or being crushed by the train wheels. Many kids risk life and limb just so they can know if their mother still loves them. The book moved at a good pace but was sometimes very depressing. I would still recommend it is a light, easy but powerful read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book, Enrique¿s Journey by Sonia Nazario is a story of a boy¿s search for his mother who left him to go live in the United States. The story begins in Honduras where Enrique¿s family is struggling to survive. Lourdes, Enrique's mother decides she must leave for the United States to be able to support her family. She leaves Enrique who is five and his sister in the care of relatives. After many years pass, Enrique realizes he must find his mother in the United States to ever be happy. His life in Honduras has become worthless. He has quit school and spends most of his time high from sniffing glue. Enrique leaves Tegucigalpa one day with the clothes on his back and a slip of paper with his mothers phone number. He has no money and does not realize the dangers that lie in wait for him. Enrique must travel through Mexico by train to make it to the United States. Along his journey, Enrique encounters numerous dangers in which he is lucky to make it out alive. At one point, he is beaten so badly, he can barely make it into the nearby town. Gangsters and immigration patrol throughout Mexico stop immigrants in their travels and demand money and clothing, often killing them. Not only are the gangsters and patrol dangerous, but so are the trains. Many immigrants loose their lives and body parts while jumping on and off the boxcars. The most amazing part is the people he meets along the way who help him when they have so little themselves. It takes Enrique over two months and eight attempts to get to his mother. With the help of a smuggler and $1,200.00, Enrique finally sees his mother. Once in the United States, things are not the way Enrique imagined. He does not respect his mother and resents her for leaving him. He misses his daughter and girlfriend. Enrique begins to make bad choices again and drinks and does drugs. Finally, He realizes that he needs to grow up and wants Maria here with him. Maria leaves her daughter and is smuggled into the United States. She comes to live with Enrique. They miss their daughter, Jasmine very much and hope to bring her to the Unites States when possible. Many messages abound from Enrique¿s Journey, but the three major ones are that anything can be achieved with determination, love can drive one to do amazing things and dreams are not always reality. Enrique was determined to find his mother in the United States. He felt that whatever life she was living, it would be better to be with her than without her. He knew he could sustain any hardships because of his determination to see her. Enrique kept trying and trying believing that once he was with her, he would be happy. Love also can cause amazing things to happen. Enrique loved his mother so much, he was willing to leave life in Honduras to be with her. Finding her and being with her was his major focus for years. On his perilous journey to find his mother, what kept Enrique moving forward was his love. When Enrique reached the United States, he realized that his dreams were not reality. He was happy for a short time and then began to resent his mother for leaving him. Enrique thought they would live happily together forever with little struggles. That was not the case. In the end, Enrique realizes that his mother is very important to him. Finding his mother with determination and love helped him learn that life might not always be what one imagines, but it can still be great with hard work. Enrique¿s Journey is an excellent example of life in Honduras. The music, poverty, family connections, and overall generosity of the people perfectly portrays how Hondurans live. They have little to nothing, yet have the spirit of family and togetherness which keeps them happy, even in the worst conditions. Another excellent portrayal of life as an immigrant is shown with Enrique¿s trip to find his mother, The descriptions and experiences are so vivid that one actually believes they are there. One can
Guest More than 1 year ago
Enrique's story is brilliantly captured exposing the treacherous path that migrants must travel in order to gain a chance at opportunity. The book goes into amazing details about the life Enrique is subjected to growing up as an abandoned child in Honduras. His yearning for his mother is too great for him to handle and he struggles to fight his past and uncertain future. Even with the grave risks involved with his repeated escapes from Honduras in search of reaching the States, Enrique finds conquering his ghosts is, too much to handle. This adventure strips Enrique of his childhood and tosses him into a tornado of pressures which will mold him into an unpredictable young man, but first he must successfully cross Mexico on a train which many are killed on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enrique’s Journey is a non-fiction novel written by Sonia Nazario to give us insight into the life of an immigrant. In my opinion, Nazario is trying to make people understand the hardships of an average immigrant. Throughout the novel, the author uses facts of cruel, inhumane acts that are being done to immigrants. Not only are these acts evil, but in addition they are poor, starving and dehydrated. The novel mainly focuses on Enrique and the splitting of his mother, but also compares the same similarities with other people. Enrique is an ordinary Mexican boy who experiences the same hardships of all Mexican children. While Enrique is only 5 years old, his mother Lourdes leaves to the United States in order to support Enrique and his sister. Enrique goes through the troubles of splitting up with relatives, drugs, and a girlfriend. When Enrique is about 15 years old, Enrique longs for his mother and decides to leave to find her. He confronts obstacles he never knew would have to be faced. He is constantly robbed, abused, and is back where he started from. Along the way, people humbly help but some produce conflict. Local Gangs and “La Migra” (the immigration authorities) repeatedly harass Enrique but Enrique doesn’t give up. With little to no money, his mother’s phone number and his pride, Enrique longs and hopes to find his hardworking mother. Enrique’s Journey is a novel that I really enjoyed reading. Not only did I realize what Immigrants have to face, but also why they face it. Many of these immigrants only want to reunite with family or live an American dream. Immigrants devour these hardships and only use it as stepping stones. I’ve come to know that many people help these immigrants and pray for them to achieve their goal. The author does a fantastic job of creating images of these scenes. Not only can I picture what’s occurring, but also I emphasize for these immigrants hardships. I would recommend this novel to any reader. This novel is not only a good read, but informational. This novel gives explicit detail of Enrique’s journey and only makes the reader more interested.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book Enrique's Journey was written by Sonia Nazario and was published by Random House in 2006. This book is based on the problems we have with immigration today. As it talks about Enrique's mom leaving Honduras to go to America it connects to how there are many people today trying to immigrate into our country for job opportunities and to earn money. Sonia also tries to the readers by writing it about a mom leaving her child which many kids now are left without mothers. The message I got from this book is that anyone can find what they are looking for by chasing after their dreams. This book is about a boy named Enrique who was only 5 when his mother went to America. After 11 years had passed he sets out on a journey from Honduras to find his mother in the U.S. It is a dangerous journey especially when he has to cross the border. He has waited so long to see his mom and does not want to be patient anymore. Enrique's main way of traveling was by riding on the sides and tops of trains. He is not the only child who would try this. Thousands of children try to make the long journey, although some succeed many fail. As Enrique is determined to find his mother he must be aware of his surroundings and use the hope inside of his heart to keep him going and guide him through, no matter what challenges are thrown at him. I liked this book because it was intriguing and very inspiring when seeing the determination Enrique has when wanting to search for his mother.  This book made me want to keep reading and see how it would end. The story gets better and better as you read it, at least it did for me. It was full of adventure and those are the types of books I enjoy because of the thrill and excitement of trying to wonder what will happen next. Enrique's Journey drew me in and made me not want to put it down. I learned from this book that immigration is a huge problem especially between South and Central America. There are thousand of people trying to cross over into America but more fail than succeed at attempting to cross. Women are the most common in immigration to earn money mainly by going to the U.S leaving behind families and friends. I would recommend this book for people of the age 14+. This book takes a little time to get into and understand but as you read on it becomes very interesting. Enrique's Journey can be similar to some persons life which can help you connect to the book. In conclusion this novel is a great reader and I highly recommend for you to grab this book and enjoy the wonderful story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If anyone ever wanted to know what it is like for someone to come to this country this will let you in. I was very touched by this book and will remember it forever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read Enriques Journey for school and it was an eye opener. I never imagined all that imagrants had to go through to make it to the uniyed states. They face drugs alchol rape gangs murders thiefs bandits and the NIS. It was amzing to read what children are willing to do to get to the united states. I just wished that they wrote if Maria Isabelle and Enrique got to be with their daughter again.
DeeW More than 1 year ago
The personal experience of Enrique presented with the research done by Nazario is written in such way that is emotional and real, not cold and matter of fact. Well done. My only criticism is that it jumps around and is repetitive at certain parts.
HeidiB2935 More than 1 year ago
This book is a real eye opener, told in a caring way. The characters are real and so are their experiences. Very interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I originally started reading this book for a class, but once I started, I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN! I was completely captivated by Enrique and his story. It brought me to tears and I can't say that about many of the books that I've read. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. It brings awareness to some of the issues that children are facing not to far from "home". AMAZING!
bridge_gurl More than 1 year ago
I was deeply disturbed by this book. The treatment of these children is inhumane. I am moved to do something about immigration reform.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Enriques Journey was about a boy who came from Hondorus to America to try and find his mother. It was hard getting here for him there was a lot of transportation and different ways. He went from trains to subways to hitch hiking. He ended up getting beat up by a bunch of gang members on the train. He just had a bad expierence on the way here. He ends up getting here and finding his mother. He sees the mom has a kid with another man and ends up paying no attention to Enrique. He gets crushed by it and ends up going back to Hondurus and getting into drugs and alchohal and being very messed up. He has a kid with a girl that he was seeing and tries to come into America. They can't get into America, but that doesn't stop Enrique he keeps trying. Eventually at the end the family gets into America. I think the book was very good, very descriptive. It shows a lot of points of views from differnt backgrounds. I think the mother was in the wrong comepletly and Enrique kind of threw his whole life away because of what his mother did to him. The mom really messed this kid up pretty bad i thought.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For Los Angeles Times writer Sonia Nazario, the hands-on research behind her tear jerking feature articles, which follow the trails of Enrique on his quest to find his mother, was a pilgrimage to understand the perils and dangers that many children undertake in search of love and hope. Enrique's Journey is the culminating product of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize winning feature articles that chronicle the life-threatening path of an Honduran boy searching for his mother. Not only does it narrate the many dangers of Enrique's trek, but it also enriches readers with insight into the intuitive longing of Enrique's need to be with his mother and brings forth the very real struggles of young children traveling by El Tren de la Muerte.
zacFZ More than 1 year ago
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I have not read the book yet but am giving it a 5-Star rating... Hey, if people can rate it 1-Star having not read it...
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