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Amelia's Road

Amelia's Road

4.5 2
by Linda Jacobs Altman, Enrique O. Sanchez (Illustrator)

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Amelia Luisa Martinez hates roads. Los caminos, the roads, take her migrant worker family to fields where they labor all day, to schools where no one knows Amelia's name, and to bleak cabins that are not home.

Amelia longs for a beautiful white house with a fine shade tree in the yard, where she can live without worrying about los caminos again. Then one day,


Amelia Luisa Martinez hates roads. Los caminos, the roads, take her migrant worker family to fields where they labor all day, to schools where no one knows Amelia's name, and to bleak cabins that are not home.

Amelia longs for a beautiful white house with a fine shade tree in the yard, where she can live without worrying about los caminos again. Then one day, Amelia discovers an "accidental road." At its end she finds an amazing old tree reminiscent of the one in her dreams. Its stately sense of permanence inspires her to put her own roots down in a very special way.

The richly colored illustrations bring to life the landscape of California's Central Valley farmland. Amelia's Road is an inspirational tale about the importance of home.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This story about the daughter of migrant farm workers is, in PW's words, ``an affecting and ultimately hopeful look at a transient way of living.'' Ages 3-10. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
Amelia Luisa Martinez has moved so often in her short life as a young member of a migrant worker family that she has come to hate roads and cries whenever she sees her father get out the map. One day, however, she discovers her own accidental road. It leads her to a favorite place that comes to represent her hopes and dreams for a more stable future. An author's note provides some background information on migrant farm workers. The warm, colorful illustrations help portray both the poignancy and hope of this realistic picture book.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Books allow older children to see that families live in all kinds of different ways. The heroine of Amelia's Road, is a migrant worker's child who hates what the roads mean and longs for a home. She finds peace at the story's end by planting a treasure box beneath a wondrous tree and creates a place "where she belonged, a place where she could come back to."
Children's Literature - Lydia Ferguson
Amelia Luisa Martinez, the daughter of migrant workers, has a childhood that falls far short of the "ideal." Whereas many children look forward to road trips, expecting them to end at destinations such as Disneyland, Amelia hates travel, maps, and every kind of road. Without a permanent home or school, she struggles through the days. She feels as though she belongs nowhere, since nothing belongs to her. As apple-picking season arrives, Amelia finds herself in a place she recognizes; it is the same labor camp where her family worked the previous year. As she revels in the familiarity of the farm, she dreams once more of settling down in a permanent home and school. While exploring the area after her day's labor, Amelia comes across a path that leads her to her own vision of paradise. Although her miniature Eden consists only of grass and an old shade tree, it represents relief from the toil of her everyday life. Trying to forge a permanent bond with her new retreat, Amelia buries a box of her most prized possessions at the foot of the tree. She hopes to return to reclaim them. Amelia and her family represent a significant part of the U.S population who straddle two different cultures. They live and work in America, yet lack the permanency many people take for granted. The narrative is not only valuable for addressing cultural displacement, but also for illustrating a child's sense of helplessness in the larger world around them. Sanchez's colorfully-detailed illustrations resemble painted canvas, providing additional texture to the Altman's already-rich story of migrant workers in America. Reviewer: Lydia Ferguson
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-A poignant yet gentle portrayal of the lives of migrant children. Constantly on the move, Amelia's family records events by crops not dates, carries with them only what will fit in the car, and are never anywhere long enough to feel at home. The girl longs for a place to stay, a place where she belongs. Teachers rarely bother to learn her name, so when Mrs. Ramos does so, it is special. The child's picture of a white house with a big shade tree earns a beautiful red star. On the way home, she discovers a road leading to a tree just like the one she drew. She visits this place often, and buries a small metal box filled with her treasures there when she must leave. For the first time in her life, Amelia has a home place. The acrylic-on-canvas illustrations have a folk-art quality that works well with this story. The canvas texture shows through the paint to add an almost tactile roughness of hard labor while rich colors capture the harvest crops at their succulent best. An important title for any library serving migrant populations, Amelia's Road should be a welcome addition almost anywhere. Useful in a variety of educational units, it works equally well as a read-aloud or read-alone.-Jody McCoy, Casady School, Oklahoma City

Product Details

Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.10(d)
660L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 Years

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Amelia's Road 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Amelia¿s Road is a delightful book about a young girl who wants to have a place to put some roots down. The description of the land and the workers shows how much Amelia feels that the constant moving is so dull and repetitive with each season. It is a fictionalized biography. The underlining theme is a sense of belonging to a place. The author was very descriptive about place she wanted for her family to stay in and put roots down. The main character, Amelia, is different than her whole family and learns on her own about making her own ¿special place.¿ According to most bibliographies, the story included a documentary on their whole life. This story gives a brief background and really focuses on one summer while picking apples where Amelia learns about herself, a teacher who cares for her, and a way to have a special place to remember. The illustrations by Enrique Sanchez were beautiful and almost appeared to be painted with watercolors paints on each page. Some of the pages had the writing on the left page or on the bottom below the pictures. The story did not really focus on the other migrant workers, so there was limited stereotyping of people who were migrant workers. Many of the children in my classroom enjoy this story. A teaching idea would be to have each student put things that represent them in a box to school. Overall, Amelia¿s Road is a sweet story with a nice ending that coincides with the overall theme that Amelia has a place to remember even when she has to move to work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for a book that your migrant or bilingual students can really identify with, then this is it. This books puts in perfect words and illustrations the heartache associated with moving on a regular basis and feeling like you don't fit in anywhere. Wonderful and uplifting.