Who? Where? What? Misael Martinez is a Salvadoran boy who is leaving his home with his family to head North in search of a better, safer life. Misael’s life in El Salvador was centered around family and the land. They took pride in cultivating corn and connecting to the earth. Things became tainted when the violence and the gangs began to penetrate their world. It was no longer safe for children in their barrio. Misael and his family are joined by many others in the caravan north. Families, children traveling alone, women and men, all on a journey together for the same reasons. They start out their journey from Plaza Divina Salvador del Mundo and head north through Guatemala and on to Mexico. They encounter many kind folks along the way and some who are not so kind. The caravan arrives in Tijuana with high hopes. As they approach the wall it becomes clear that getting to the other side is impossible, leaving many with broken dreams of the north and a longing for their homes back in El Salvador.
Jorge Argueta paints the picture of the experience of those migrating in the caravan to the north in verse. Each part of the journey is described from the point of view of Misael. We follow his experience as it reflects those of the migrants he is traveling with. The reader is yanked along the rollercoaster of emotions from excitement and hope to sadness and despair. Caravan to the North is an important story that underscores the reality of many people from Latin America today. The book provides valuable insight into the reasons people migrate and the harrowing journeys they endure to seek safety, opportunity, freedom, and well-being for themselves and their families. By using the point of view of a boy on the journey, Jorge Argueta presents the complicated theme of migration in an approachable way for middle school and high school students.
Primary Themes: migration, family, community, expectations vs reality, current events
Resources for using Caravan to the North in the classroom:
https://www.teachingbooks.net/tb.cgi?tid=68278 Teaching books has comprehensive activities and info about Caravan to the North.
http://jorgetetlargueta.weebly.com/ For more information about the author Jorge Argueta including his other works and resources for the classroom.
https://www.ilctr.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Teaching-Immigration-with-the-Immigrant-Stories-Project-FINAL_opt.pdf The University of Minnesota Immigration History Research Center’s “Teaching Immigration with the Immigration Stories Project.” A great resource for ideas on how to incorporate immigration topics into the classroom.