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Migrant: The Journey of a Mexican Worker
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Migrant: The Journey of a Mexican Worker

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4.32  ·  Rating details ·  134 ratings  ·  48 reviews
A Mexican boy tells of his journey to the U.S. with his family. They must face many dangers to cross the border, only to experience the uncertainty felt by all illegal immigrants. The narrative is accompanied by one long, beautifully vivid illustration reminis­cent of pre-Hispanic codices, packaged as an accordion-style foldout frieze.

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Hardcover, 22 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by Harry N. Abrams (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 4.32  · 
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 ·  134 ratings  ·  48 reviews


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Angelina
2.5 stars. An important book and a very interesting presentation, but the story for me lacks emotion and is too mellow and restrained. Even though more explanation is given in the note an the end, it isn't enough to leave a lasting impression.
Allie
Migrant is the diary-like narration of a boy making the trip from rural Mexico to Los Angeles. The first person narration is really affecting, because it really gives the perspective of a confused by perceptive little kid. The unnamed boy doesn't quite understand what's happening, but he gets that some parts of this journey are really serious. In the author & illustrator's note they write that the book is intended to honor the lives of hundreds of thousands of nameless children who have made the ...more
Ann
Jan 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A truly one-of-a-kind work of art in pictures and words. It's an accordion fold-out book (English on one side/Spanish on the other) that uses an ancient codex form to tell the story of a contemporary family's perilous migration from Mexico to Los Angeles. Pedro's illustrations are incredibly intricate and endlessly fascinating. Mateo's words are simple, poetic and deeply felt. The author's and artist's notes provide context to the style of art and the plight of today's Mexican migrants. Original ...more
Lin Lin
A Mexican boy shares his experiences of migrating with his mother and sister to the United States where his father works. Undocumented, he and his stories help us understand there should be no illegal "human beings". This story comes to us in the form of the pre-Hispanic codex, which has the text next to an image painted over several folded pages like an accordion. Love this book, and believe children would love it too, particularly those who are bilingual in English and Spanish.
Crystal
Migrant by Jose Manuel Mateo and illustrated by Javier Martinez Pedro made my jaw drop. The unusual format - a codex that folds out accordion style with intricate illustration really captured my attention. I got lost in the details of the illustration. Beyond that, the story of a migrant family facing the dangers of leaving their small village to cross into the U.S. gripped me even with so few words. I am not sure that libraries are going to buy it given the unusual format, but it will be on the ...more
Linda
What a marvelous book, written in a a codex that folds out accordion style with intricate black and white illustrations filled with people and the actions of the story told, rather briefly in small paragraphs to the left. It’s the story of a migrant family, a mother and two children who the dangers of leaving their small village to cross into the U.S.
The author expresses a need to empower the many children, estimated 50,000, who cross each year, sometimes even alone. And as the words also tel
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Barbara
A boy describes the dangers faced as he and his family travel from Mexico to the United States. The text appears on the left-hand side alongside a codex that unfolds in an accordion-like style. This is an impressive book that spells out the complexity of the immigration experience.
Donalyn
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Stunning book that combines ancient codex storytelling images with a contemporary immigration story.
Sherri
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This project, story and artwork, is to highlight the number of children who are migrating and the particular challenges that arise for them beyond the dangers of the journey.

A short story of a migration to Los Angeles, told from a young boys perspective, set against a stunning illustration. There are so many tiny details in the illustration; it is a joy to explore how it matches the story.

All this, and it is bound as a traditional codex! The entire book is printed on a single long page, accordio
...more
Albany High Library
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A young Mexican boy’s difficult immigration story unfolds dramatically, stretching out in the traditional pre-Hispanic codex format. Leaving his small village in search of his father and work, his journey is full of dangers. The complex, striking artwork is one continuously evolving scene following the boy’s journey. The result is a story full of humanity and empathy, embraced in a traditional format.
Julie
Beautifully illustrated picture book done in one long accordion-style black and white foldout illustration, telling the sad and compelling story of a migrant boy and his family as they leave Mexico for a new life in California due to hardship and unfortunate circumstance. Unusual but fascinating format for a children's book, with extreme attention to detail in the depiction of the family's story.
Cara Byrne
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that will be easy to integrate into a number of my college-level children's literature courses due to its remarkably unique accordion one-page, poster size presentation of the story and its visually and textually moving narrative of a young boy migrating from Mexico to the US.
Jake Cotto
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bread-loaf-2017
Such a cool book! Written in codex form! I can't wait to incorporate this book into my classroom next year! It's going to be very interesting to see what students think about the story and form of this text.
Mrs. Lynch Library
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stunning artwork in a powerful story of a young boy. The story is read from top to bottom and the book unfolds in an accordion fold. Truly a work of art.
Janine Darragh
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Unique and beautiful format, this book tells the story of one child's journey from Mexico to California. Brief in words but rich in illustrations, this book is most likely best suited for upper elementary. The author's and illustrator's note in the back provides information on the artistic format as well as statistics regarding immigrant children.
Rosanna
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is not just a "book" but an amazing piece of art. It takes you into the mindset of a Mexican leaving them hometown. How scary this transition can be for them, sometimes losing their family along the way. I'm actually debating purchasing this one for the art itself. It's remarkable.
Cindy
Written by Jose Manual Mateo and Javier Martinez Pedro

"A Mexican boy tells of his journey to the U.S. with his family. They must face many dangers to cross the border, only to experience the uncertainty felt by all illegal immigrants. The narrative is accompanied by one long, beautifully vivid illustration reminis­cent of pre-Hispanic codices, packaged as an accordion-style foldout frieze." Amazon
"Unfolding like an accordion revealing one long, vertical image, Migrant presents a childlike drawin
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Tasha
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A boy from Mexico talks about the changes in his family and his village as people leave Mexico to find work in the United States. The story begins with the boy speaking about his village and how it used to be as a farming community with small farms where he would play. But then things changed and soon the village was just women and children with all of the men gone to find work elsewhere. When his mother was unable to find work in the village and his father’s money stopped arriving, the had no c ...more
Merissa Leonard
Being able to take the book apart accordion style along with the elongated picture is an attention grabber in itself. The format and style of the text is interesting for readers as well because it is read as a young boys thoughts or journal entries, which makes it more personal for the readers. This book is about a young boy’s journey with his mother and siblings to America to find work and his father who left the family to find work. When they cross the border, they face dangerous situations su ...more
Esther
Beautiful story, designed in the codex form used by the people of Mesoamerica long ago to retain their stories. One side of the codex in English, the other in Spanish, this migrant story sets out to "safeguard the memory" of the Mexican children who struggle so hard to reach the States.

A powerful teaching tool about communal history, immigration issues, empathy, and transcribing stories through pictures.

The author and illustrator's note for why they wrote the book says it best: "We wish to tell
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Alyssa Stanley
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Multicultural-Picture Book

Upon getting this book from the library, I was very surprised of the style the book was in that I have never seen before. The book is one single image that folds out like an accordion and shows the journey of a boys migration from Mexico to Los Angeles. One side is English and if you flip it over there is the same image but the words are in Spanish. The book really does a good job capturing the boys feelings of what is happening and the unknown.

I really enjoyed the ill
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Kay Carman
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
The format of Migrant is unusual and interesting. Borrowed from the ancient Egyptian form of drawing/writing on vegetable-based paper and then folding it accordion-style, the format is called a codex. The story is sobering. A Mexican boy dispassionately describes the loss of agricultural jobs in are area in which his family lives, his father leaves the family to look for work elsewhere, his mother can't find work, they leave their home and travel toward America, encountering dangerous impediment ...more
Maureen Milton
Visually intricate, Pedro’s single, large, black and white illustration is published in codex format (in homage to Mesoamerican history), with Mateo’s story in Spanish on one side, English on the other. The accordion-fold pages mimic the physical complexities of a boy and his mother and sister’s journey north from rural Mexico. The boy’s perspective reveals the emotional complexity underlying his family’s risk-filled decision. This quietly powerful narrative ends with an author’s & artist’s note ...more
Britnee Grantz
This book was very unique to read, not only because of the way the illustrations were but the set up of the book as well. The page in the book was folded accordion style therefore the top and bottom of the book was a hardcover but when untied by string you were able to read the story in Spanish or English based upon which way you looked at the book. If the book was completely unfolded then the illustration continued through the whole story which I thought was unique.The whole thing was in black ...more
Mary Ann
A young Mexican boy’s difficult immigration story unfolds dramatically, stretching out in the traditional pre-Hispanic codex format. Leaving his small village in search of his father and work, his journey is full of dangers. The complex, striking artwork is one continuously evolving scene following the boy’s journey. The result is a story full of humanity and empathy, embraced in a traditional format.
Jean Haberman
Mar 25, 2015 rated it liked it
A creative picture book done in codex form, a continuous illustration paired with text in both Spanish and English and folded accordion style. It is black and white and the cover is tied with a ribbon. It isn't a book children will pick up, but it would be useful to read and discuss the immigrant experience with children.

The author did not experience migration, however, the illustrator at one point in his life illegally migrated to the United States.
Juliana Cario
This book is very interesting and unique. It has a very different setup than most books. I think kids would love it for that factor in itself. The whole book is black and white but the illustrations really get your imagination going. The story is very good which for some reason I was not expecting. It is very informative about the daily lives of these characters and what they had to go through.
Karissa Youngblood
This is a story about a Mexican family that has to travel to the U.S. to survive. This book is very well written, has amazing illustrations, and a very interesting layout; however, I don't know how I feel about the content. I am against illegal immigration and while it is not explicitly accepted as a good thing I feel like it does in a way encourage it and make it seem like something that is good. I don't believe this is something I would use to teach about immigration.
Edward Sullivan
A Mexican boy tells of his journey to the U.S. with his family, including the many dangers they face to cross the border and the uncertainty they experience as illegal immigrants. The bilingual narrative is accompanied by one long, beautifully vivid illustration replicating pre-Hispanic codices and bound as an accordion-style foldout frieze. A magnificent work of art.
Monica Edinger
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a remarkable book providing a highly original look at those migrating across our southern border. This story of a young Mexican migrant is told in English and Spanish and spectacularly illustrated in the style of a Mayan codex, folding out in a frieze so that young readers can explore the story in a wide variety of ways. Spectacular.
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