Sunday, January 4, 2015

Mateo, Jose Manuel & Javier Martinez Pedro, Migrant, New York: Abrams, 2011

A fascinating double-sided accordion, one side in English and the other in Spanish. Conceived as a children's book the subject is the migrant's journey from Mexico to the USA and the perils of this journey north on the network of Mexican trains, colloquially known as La Bestia (The Beast). Written from the perspective of a young Mexican boy who describes his life in the village and the gradual depopulation of his community as the inhabitants head north in search of work leaving only women and children behind. Since his mother is forbidden by their landowner to work their patch of land and unable to find decent work locally she and her son and daughter make the journey north. The boy describes the journey and the dangers they face and their successful arrival in Los Angeles where they are confronted with a host of new difficulties, but at least they have work.

The combination of the text (Jose Manuel Mateo) and the wonderful drawings (Javier Martinez Pedro) really brings alive the myriad issues related to why Mexicans, and children in particular, are forced to undertake this perilous journey North. Interestingly, Javier Martinez Pedro at one time illegally migrated to the USA and thus his drawings are imbued with the first hand knowledge of the trip that hundreds of thousands of Mexicans and others have taken. This book should be required reading for children and adults alike!

Page size: 6.25" (h) x 12.5" (w), fully extended 5' 2.5".  Price very reasonably at $17.95.


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