Summer Reading- Enrique’s Journey

We are a nation of Immigrants. Some of us are generations removed from our immigrant relatives while others arrive daily by risking their lives to cross the imaginary borderline that separates them from poverty and hopelessness in the native countries. Their story, and those of our immigrant ancestors is depicted in Sonia Nazario ‘s masterpiece, Enrique’s Journey.

While the story of immigration may be universal for all Americans, the specifics vary in detail. Most of our relatives came by boat from the Eastern Hemisphere while others, like Enrique, have traveled in a more contemporary, but equally dangerous route- atop the ever-curving train cars underneath the blistering Mexican sun.

From the beginning of this book, the reader is enticed by the sheer grit that Enrique must face to travel by himself to the united States from Honduras. While in his middle teens, he embarks on his journey not for economic stability, not for pride, and not for adventure- he does it for love. His mother left him to go al norte when he was just five. He misses her, and he wishes with all of his heart to be with her again.

The author tells Enrique’s story against the backdrop of factual information. She spent years traveling the route that most Central Americans take to enter into the country illegally. Using recent statistics, she paints a vivid picture that encompasses the ideological motives of those who seek a better life for themselves. She joins these ideologies with real life testimonies from those who have lived, and continue to live, through the struggle of globalized poverty.

This book does a fantastic job of joining the pros and cons of illegal immigration into a gut-wrenching love story of Enrique’s life. It is a must read for all teachers, especially those who serve migrant, children of migrants, and impoverished students with problems at home.

For more information on Enrique’s Journey, including pruchasing information, click here.

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever!

ELLs to Be Taken Away by Crimson Tide?

A lot of publicity has been given to the recent Immigration Law passed in Arizona that sets an already overworked police force up for racial profiling accusations. Apparently, Texas is planning on introducing a similar law that would set up even more debates about immigration. Even more recently, Governor hopeful of Alabama, Tim James, has vowed to follow this bandwagon and eliminate all foreign languages from the Crimson State. Check out what he has to say:

With the airwaves filled with such ignorance and intolerance regarding race, what effects could these laws have on our ELLs (English Language Learners)?

Most educators have been blessed enough to have ELL students over the course of their career. Although the language gaps can be challenging, the cultural literacy that our ELL students bring to the table are tremendously helpful to the teaching of tolerance in our rooms. Without their differences, our students would have less outlets to understand the world outside of their communities.

That is why the laws that the State lawmakers are writing are illogical, uneducated, and damaging to our nation’s progress. These laws are ridding our nation of its cultural uniqueness, its future bilingual leaders, and a gold-mine of diversity. As a result of these losses, it will become harder for our students to become successful in the future globalized society that Arizona, Texas, and Alabama are attempting to impede. There’s got to be another way.

President Obama has already put in has two cents about the law, and thankfully they are being reviewed now by the Supreme Court. But in the meantime, we can’t help but wonder what is going on in the minds of our ELL students, especially those who are here legally, but their parents not.

May Jesus live in our hearts forever!