Hey there readers!! This week I am pleased to bring you some information on Ann Jaramillo, the author of this month’s book club featured book, La Linea (ages 10 and up).
Ann Jaramillo teaches English as a Second Language to Mexican-American seventh and eighth graders in Salinas, California, many of whom are migrants. La Linea is her first novel. Over ninety-five percent of her students are of Mexican descent, and many are first generation, new arrival immigrants themselves. She wrote this story for them, for the kids who come into her classroom, ready to learn, after surviving a daunting journey. “From them I have learned the meaning of optimism, courage, and determination” (pg 128).
La Linea, though fiction, is based on real events. Jaramillo was inspired to write La Linea when one of her students revealed that she had grown up without knowing her mother until she arrived to the U.S. She writes, “That conversation was the seed of this book. My students find very few books that reflect their lives and experiences. I was determined to write one that did” (pg. 131).
Jaramillo’s husband is Mexican-American and he works as a lawyer seeking justice for migrant farm workers. As she has become a part of his Mexican family, she has seen first-hand the complexities of culture, language and citizenship within immigrant and borderland communities. She has commented that La Linea is the “result of the fortunate convergence of my married and professional lives” (pg 127). Her husband’s family history also impacts how she views immigration in the U.S. She describes, “Jaramillos have lived for many, many generations in New Mexico. My father-in-law, Lalo, Liked to remind us “we didn’t come to the United States. The United States came to us”. My mother-in-law, Tomasa, grew up in El Paso, Texas. Both her parents were immigrants from Mexico” (pg 127).
Inspired by what she sees through her personal and professional life, she writes La Linea to offer a story that represent an important, though marginalized group; thereby raising awareness of the dangers, trials and tribulations that many migrant children face. The book was chosen as a 2006 Americas Award Commended Title.
(All citations from additional resources section in La Linea)
Check out the following reviews of La Linea from:
Here is a great curricular resource created by Barbara Hult to accompany the book.
The book has also been selected as part of the AILF’s “Immigration Resource Guide for K-12 Educators”.
Image: Ann Jaramillo. Reprinted from Macmillan
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