Javier's Dreamby Linda Sibley
While spending the summer on his grandparents' Texas cotton farm, Michael helps a teenager from Mexico who dreams of coming to America.
VOYAMichael Dawson lives with his parents in a large house in Dallas, but for the summer, he is working at his grandfather's cotton farm near the Mexican border. One day while running a tractor near the Rio Grande, Michael spies a boy on the Mexican side of the river. They throw a baseball back and forth, and exchange letters attached to the ball with a rubber band. Javier's wish is to live in the United States. Michael learns about the dangers of illegal immigration from his grandfather-run-ins with the border patrol and drug traffickers, the river's unpredictability. Despite Michael's warnings, Javier tries to cross the river. When his boat capsizes, Michael saves him. The boys run into border patrol officers engaged in a drug bust, and Javier's illegal status is discovered. Michael's father is summoned, and when he and Michael drive Javier home, they are stunned by his primitive living conditions. With his mother's permission, they arrange to adopt Javier, who states he will always be proud of his Mexican heritage. Despite the contrived plot and happy ending, there is enough action-and cliffhanging chapter endings-here to keep pages turning. The trim size, style of illustration, and page count target middle school readers. Although neither boy's age is given, they appear to be twelve to fourteen. Initially, Michael is not interested in learning Spanish, but he becomes so to communicate with Javier. This change mirrors another transition from self-centeredness to empathy. Both journeys are worth reading about. This hi/lo book is written at a third-grade reading level with a fourth- to eighth-grade interest level, Munat <%ISBN%>0756909260
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