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Enrique's Journey (The Young Adult Adaptation): The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with His Mother

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  12,965 ratings  ·  2,273 reviews
Based on the Los Angeles Times newspaper series that won two Pulitzer Prizes, this astonishing story puts a human face on the ongoing debate about immigration reform in the United States. Now a beloved classic, this page-turner about the power of family is a popular text in classrooms and a touchstone for communities across the country to engage in meaningful discussions a ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 27th 2013 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published February 1st 2005)
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This September I will be honoring Hispanic Heritage Month by reading Hispanic authored books across many genres. Although the official month does not begin until September 15, I have a wide, varied lineup of books planned out and decided to get off to an early start. Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother by Sonia Nazario was originally a series of Los Angeles Times articles by the author over a span of five years. Winning the Pulitzer for feature re ...more
Mar 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who want to know more about immigration that just what happens at our border
Stuff I already knew:
-The US/Mexico border sucks and there are lots of shady people making lots of money off of it.
-People leave their countries and come to the US because they are dirt poor and can't support their families

Stuff I didn't already know but learned from this book:
-The Mexico/Guatemala border sounds like it's even worse than ours... not necessarily in terms of how difficult it is to cross, but rather, in the absolute brutality of the gangs and bandits that prey on migrants...
Book rating: social relevance 5 stars, writing 1 star.

Lourdes, a single mother of 2 children, makes the decision to leave her homeland of Honduras for the United States to support her family. She leaves behind Belky (daughter, 8 years old) and Enrique (son, 5 years old) in the care of two different relatives. Eleven years later, Enrique, sets out to find her. The book details Enriques harrowing 4 month struggle to reunite with his mother. The book details the perils of immigrants from trains, ba
Oct 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone in the US should read this book in order to understand the dangerous journey that Central American immigrants make in order to work in the US. This is not a book that tries to persuade you to feel one way or another about immigration. It is simply about one boy´s journey through Mexico on top of trains and the perils that surround him. He has many flaws, but a deep desire to reunite with his mother (who immigrated to the US when he was 6) and to send money back home to his family in Hon ...more
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe how gruesome, violent, and nearly hopeless the journey is from South America to America! I mean, I thought all hispanic people snuck in with a few dangers. The news makes it sound like getting into America is easy as pie for migrants. I was so shocked to read that there's approximately a 0% chance of traveling via train and on foot without encountering horrific violence, debilitating injuries from boarding and unboarding the train, rape, robbery, and/or many other nightmare scena ...more
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned a lot about illegal immigration from reading Sonia Nazario's Enrique's Journey. Nazario, a distinguished journalist for the Los Angeles Times very much takes a "features" approach in her writing, emphasizing the human stories and motivations that create the statistics.

It certainly makes for a compelling read. Enrique's story starts in Honduras with his mother, Lourdes. Lourdes cannot afford to feed and educate her children, so she leaves for "el norte." Her plan is to work hard, save m
Peter Derk
Sep 22, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I hated it.

It's kind of hard to say that because of the book's subject matter. It makes me feel like I'm saying the subject matter wasn't important. It's sort of like being in a writing class where someone writes a non-fiction piece about a past trauma. It's hard to talk about the problems with the piece without feeling like you're invalidating the events and the person in some way.

That said, hated it. It didn't have so much a narrative as it read like a list, a catalouging of atrocities.
Ms. Montaño
Sep 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all educators and people interested in learning about immigration
Recommended to Ms. Montaño by: Professors at UCLA
"Enrique's Journey" completely challenged my views on immigration and helped me identify the challenges that I face as a teacher. Sonia Nazario begins the book by providing a background of information on the immigration policies of the 80's and 90's. She then takes us to Honduras where a mother is about to leave her children so that she can come to the US and have a better life in order to provide a better life for her children. As the years go by, the mother is faced with the decision to risk h ...more
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: central-america
I live in Oaxaca Mexico, and have lived in Veracruz and Chiapas, three places where refugees pass through from Central America to the north of Mexico, or to the United States. These locations figure prominently in Nazario's amazing book. I read it some years ago, just after I had moved to Mexico. Shortly afterward I visited California and was eating in a big Mexican restaurant in SF. Because I had just recently read "Enrique's Journey" I talked to some of the women who were cleaning off the tabl ...more
Jul 06, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a book. It's a report. It's straight forward reporting and I admire her efforts to get the full experience, but the ongoing repetition of the same kind of details to make her point was overkill for the general public. ...more
Robert Early
Mar 31, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I honestly wanted to love this book. I wanted to get lost in the stories of these immigrants. I wanted to feel emotionally connected to them. I wanted to cry. I wanted to smile. I wanted to feel relief. I wanted to feel SOMETHING! Unfortunately, Enrique’s Journey (2006) falls well short of being considered even mediocre in my opinion.

First off, I don’t want anyone to think I’m some heartless monster. I sympathize with Central and South American people who illegally immigrate to the United States
Kressel Housman
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Latin American immigration to the U.S. has been much in the news lately, but even though the author researched this book in 2000 and updated it in 2012, I still believe it’s an accurate picture of what goes on now, at least south of the border. Enrique’s mother Lourdes left Honduras when he was five and his sister was seven. She called when she could and sent back money so that the grandmother, caring for the kids, could afford to feed them, pay school fees, and even buy some extras, like soccer ...more
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, immigrant
I think everybody in the U.S. with an opinion about immigration should read Enrique's Journey.

When Enrique is five years old, his mother leaves Honduras for the U.S. so she can support her children. But for Enrique the separation is unbearable, and when he is sixteen, he goes in search of her. Too poor to afford a smuggler, he travels the way that the poorest of the poor are forced to travel: by jumping onto freight trains headed north. The dangers of traveling this way are real and devastating:
Oct 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book although it read more like a newspaper article than I was anticipating. Having worked with many immigrants from Central America, I found myself amazed at what some of them may have gone through to get to this country, as I had not thought much about the actual process outside of paying smugglers. I was also amazed that the author supposedly did some of the same travels, I have to think she had some sort of protection with her other than papers stating who she was...?

We tend to
Liz Murray
Jun 21, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I confess I didn't read this the whole way through. I was put off in the prologue when the author says that she hopes Latina mothers in the US with children back home will understand the full consequences of leaving their children behind and make better-informed decisions. Latina mothers understand all too well what the consequences are and insinuating that this book will educate them on the topic is horrifically patronising. No one is making this decision without extreme forethought and distres ...more
Book Concierge
Subtitle: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite With His Mother

Journalist Sonia Nazario first met Enrique and his mother, Lourdes, in search of a story. She had originally heard of mothers who leave their children behind from her cleaning lady. Her interest piqued, she sought to document what such a journey entails … for the mother who goes ahead, for the children left behind, for the boy who was determined to travel nearly 2,000 miles alone to find the mother he had not seen for more th
May 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book. I found it to be eye-opening as well as extremely thought provoking. I appreciate Nazario for successfully delivering a heart wrenching and sympathetic account of Enrique's and his family's stories yet still allowing the reader to feel that whichever side of the immigration issue he/she stands, it is ok as long as we realize the true matter is so gray and complicated... in no way black and white and obviously having no short term solutions. The only reason I gave 4 instead of 5 s ...more
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This author should stick to her Pulitzer prize winning journalism. The book is written in the short, choppy manner of a newspaper writer. It is repetitive. It supplies way too many names and places that are not crucial to the crux of the story.
The nonfiction story itself is compelling, but not enough to fill 300 pages. Basically, mothers flee Central America, leaving their children behind because they think they can make a lot of money in the United States. They flee in the name of love: they wi
Marcy prager
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a powerful story of one child, representative of 48,000 children per year, who leave Central America and Mexico each year in search of their mothers in the United States. Enrique's mom, while she lived in the Honduras, scrubbed laundry in a muddy river for others to make money. She sold tortillas, used clothes, and plantains door-to-door. She sold gum, crackers, and cigarettes on a sidewalk curb. Her husband had left her.

Enrique's mom left her family when he was five to go the the Unite
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With tireless reporting--the notes on sourcing are more than twenty pages--Sonia Nazario took up in "Enrique's Journey" the story of one of the Central American youths who travel through Mexico. Enrique is an Honduran teenager whose mother left for better prospects in the United States when he was five. She was ahead of her time; the U.S. Border Patrol has reported approximately 1.8 million apprehensions of unaccompanied children (under the age of 18) from October 2012 through April of this year ...more
Kimberly Smith
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I give this book 3.5 stars.

EVERY American needs to read this book! Journalist Sonia Nazario has done an incredible job illuminating a huge problem in the world that most Americans know virtually nothing about. There are hundreds of thousands of Central Americans, many are little children, riding the trains, a kind of "super highway" up through Guatemala and Mexico to seek a better life in the United States.

Her writing style reads exactly like what I imagine her installments for the LA Times mus
Melissa Barbier
Enrique's Journey is a heartbreaking story about the realities of immigrants. It helps the reader learn about the how and why immigrants come to a country illegally. I was left wondering more about the immigration process and how immigrants could go through the process legally. I was also left wondering why Enrique and his family do not seem to start the legal process of becoming a citizen and I wanted to know why and what was stopping them. I sincerely wonder what the process is like and how it ...more
Jul 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, nook-st
ENRIQUE'S JOURNEY, by Sonia Nazario


"Gripping, heroic and important, 'Enrique's Journey' captures the heart. Most Americans or their forebears came to the United States from other countries. They experienced difficult journeys and wrenching family separations—all in the hope of finding a better life in this new land. Enrique's story is 'our' story, beautifully told."—Edward James Olmos, page 229

"She [Enrique's mother] left for the United States out of love. She hoped
Caz Margenau
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 23, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who live in the US.
Recommended to Jessica by: Kent Bassett
Three stars. But, everybody in the US should read this book. I don't believe there is a competitor out there. I thought after 6 years of immigrant rights work that I knew something about the risks of getting to the US from Central America. I didn't. It drives home the violence of our failure to achieve amnesty, again, making it now 22 years since the last time folks were given the opportunity to come out of the shhadows, visit their families, travel home or north without risking their lives.
In Enrique’s Journey, author Sonia Nazario details the true experiences of a young Honduran boy as he attempts to cross the border into the United States to reunite with his mother, Lourdes. In an effort to escape extreme poverty and starvation, and to provide a better life for her two young children, Lourdes, a single mother, decided to leave Honduras and try to find work in the U.S. She left her children with relatives and promised to return in a few years. Eleven years later, Enrique found hi ...more
Read this book.

Sonia Nazario presents the story of a mother who leaves her family in Honduras to enter the US illegally in order to make money for them to go to school and eat. She thinks she will only be gone a year. After many years, her son, Enrique, now 15, decides to make the extremely dangerous journey to find his mother. After several attempts and near death experiences (he was very lucky to not die), he finally is reunited with his mom. However, reunification is fraught with difficultie
Mar 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book and recommend it for everyone out there. It doesn't matter what you think or feel about the illegal immigration issue, you will never be the same after reading this book. It opened up my eyes and helped me understand some of the people that I encounter every single day. It also made me realize, yet again, how good I really do have it. What would lead a mother to leave her children to come to a foreign land, to face death and struggles beyond her imagination? What wou ...more
Feb 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was an easy read, but difficult to digest because it hits so close to home. My students have shared the same experiences that Sonia shared in this book. We must do something to help all of these unaccompanied minors risking everything to come north to reunite with their families. It is an overwhelming, dangerous, unjust problem. My heart breaks with each new story. I am looking forward to using this book during summer school to help my students process some of their experiences.
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More like 3,5 but bonus points for intention.
This is an excellent story that is really important for people to learn more about. I'd say read it just to create more awareness. That being said however, it's clear that the author is a journalist. I'm not saying she's a bad writer, but it does mean that the narrative doesn't "flow" like you'd expect it to in a regular novel.
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Sonia Nazario has written about social issues for more than two decades, most recently as a projects reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She holds the distinctions of winning the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, and of being the youngest writer to be hired by the Wall Street Journal.

She grew up both in Kansas and Argentina. She permanently moved to the U.S. as the Dirty War was happening i

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