Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Children of the Land” as Want to Read:
Children of the Land
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Children of the Land

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  109 ratings  ·  21 reviews
This unforgettable memoir from a prize-winning poet about growing up undocumented in the United States recounts the sorrows and joys of a family torn apart by draconian policies and chronicles one young man’s attempt to build a future in a nation that denies his existence.

“You were not a ghost even though an entire country was scared of you. No one in this story was a
ebook, 384 pages
Published January 28th 2020 by Harper
More Details... Edit Details

Win a Copy of This Book

  • Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
    Children of the Land
    Release date: Jan 28, 2020
    “Children of the Land amplifies the struggles and dilemmas that countless [families] have endured and will continue to endure, particularly during ...more

    Format: Print book

    Giveaway ends in: a

    Availability: 10 copies available, 2557 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Feb 07 - Feb 21, 2020

    Countries available: U.S.

  • Friend Reviews

    To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 4.43  · 
    Rating details
     ·  109 ratings  ·  21 reviews

    More filters
    Sort order
    Start your review of Children of the Land
    Karen (idleutopia_reads)
    Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    A boy almost loses his life when a horse is startled, a man discovers he is bisexual long after marrying his high school sweetheart, a man wishes to wait a while before getting his papers because he is afraid that people will think he only married his love to fix his immigration status, a boy’s dream of being safe at home is shattered when ICE comes knocking at his door, a man discourses about loving a country that’s constantly pushing against you and hating that country for all its done to your ...more
    Paris (parisperusing)
    No rating at this time. I'm going to make room for this one later. My focus is waning — it's definitely not the story, which is beautifully-written; however, it is the size. Tomes scare me, but I'll revisit in time. <3
    I don't like writing reviews. I don't read books to have something to say about them (stole that from a book I read recently) but b/c I want to read them.

    However, this memoir has pushed me to consider trying to review a book. So I'm going to work on that this weekend.

    Meanwhile, if you want to read a book about people without documentation living in the US, THIS is THE book of 2020 to read.
    Julia Kardon
    Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is a poet, and if you haven't read his poetry, you should also do that. But the unbelievable beauty of his verse is present here in his prose, as he lays bare the often Kafkaesque and humiliating experience of growing up in the United States undocumented. Also full of wit and joy, CHILDREN OF THE LAND is a must-read for anyone trying to process the immigrant experience in America.
    Kathleen Gray
    Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Amazing, sad, and important. This tale of immigration and a family that simply wants a better life is hard to read in parts because it's true. No doubt we're all familiar with the broad outlines of the undocumented experience but Castillo has captured it in an way that will make you bend your head. That he wanted to be invisible, that his mother went back to Mexico to join his father after the latter was deported, that he has survived even though it has been a painful journey all add up to a ...more
    Jan Priddy
    Dec 19, 2019 rated it liked it
    Shelves: giveaway, dnf
    I thank the publishers of this memoir for my "proof" copy.

    It is beautiful, painful, abstract—a memoir in lyric poetry expanded to fill the pages. I cannot read it all right now. I tried to do the math and discover the age of his mother at childbirth. She is two years younger than me. She had children in her forties. I read a hundred pages, skipped to the end and read that the author is "six months sober" and I stopped right there for a long time to consider. I think: come back to me when you
    Kyle Smith
    Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    I already look forward to reading this again. Beautiful, important, and intriguing.
    Kyra Johnson
    Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: review-copies
    Children of the Land is a beautifully written memoir by poet Marcelo Hernandez Castillo where he recounts coming of age as an undocumented immigrant in America.

    Castillo’s family made the journey across the border from Mexico when he was five-years-old and rented a home in California. When Castillo was in high school, ICE agents came barging through his door, guns at the ready, looking for his father who was deported a few years prior. Castillo was shaped by these traumatic experiences. He
    Roof Beam Reader (Adam)
    Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Suggestion: Read this instead of American Dirt.
    Feb 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    I have mixed feelings about this book. A poet, Castillo's prose is broken into short story-like segments that jump back and forth between his childhood, his parent's narrative, and his recent experiences with illegal immigration, diaspora, citizenship, and dysfunctional family dynamics.

    There was a certain strength in this book, that I believe warrant the three stars, but first, what bothered me personally:

    While Castillo has some lovely prose throughout and likes to wax poetically in his
    Morelia (Strandedinbooks)
    “I didn’t know how to love my skin, because everyone around me said that to be beautiful meant to be what I was not.”


    First and foremost, Marcelo is a poet so you already know his prose is beautiful and I enjoyed how vividly I was able to picture certain instances, almost as if I had been there myself. I was enthralled, seriously could not stop listening to the audio.

    This memoir follows Marcelo’s immigrant experience in the U.S., a country that continually tries to erase immigrant
    Karen Lewis
    This is a suspenseful and inspiring memoir, a feast of language. The author is a young professor and poet who crossed the border Mexico/USA as a 5-year-old child. He excavates his coming-of-age in the context of family, identity, work, education, language, and place. Highly recommended to fans of Reyna Grande, Valeria Luiselli, Francisco Cantú, and Luis Alberto Urrea. Much of the memoir revolves around immigration themes--DACA, migrant detention, family separation, border politics. The narrative ...more
    Jonathan Hernandez
    Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Painful, beautiful and honest.

    “I didn’t know how to love my skin, because everyone around me said that to be beautiful meant to be what I was not”
    Matthew Noe
    Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Painful. Beautiful. Lyrical in a way that makes you want to cry and sing all at once.
    Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: nonfiction, poetry
    "I wanted to exist in a place that had no relationship to the border-at-large or to immigration or to my status or my family's. I just wanted a tree, a beach, a mountain, even a bird, not tinged the color of all my fake documents. But where could I go that didn't involve a border in one way or another . Where on earth is a border irrelevant? How could I create a small landscape of memories divorced from that spectacle? "

    I came upon this book because of all the "American Dirt" controversy. (You
    Amy Greenhouse
    Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Beautiful, beautiful memoir. Very few people understand the challenges of undocumented immigrants, but Castillo tells his tale with beautiful prose & detail. His experiences crossing the border as a child & growing up undocumented in the US make us understand the difficulties & anxieties he faced. Highly recommend!
    1/2 Parts of this memoir I absolutely loved and found deeply meaningful and insightful about the daily struggles of the undocumented, Castillo’s conflicted returns to Mexico and his father, and his recounting of his family’s history. ...more
    Tổng Đài VPBX
    VPBX cung cấp giải pháp tổng đài ảo cho doanh nghiệp với đầy đủ tính năng cho khách hàng trải nghiệm chất lượng cuộc gọi cao và chi phí thấp nhất.
    Kim Daniel
    Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    A beautifully-written memoir about what it's like growing up undocumented in the U.S.
    Helen Machuga
    Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Wow! I wish everyone would read the book.
    rated it it was amazing
    Dec 08, 2019
    rated it it was amazing
    Feb 11, 2020
    Nicci Obert
    rated it liked it
    Feb 10, 2020
    Shobha Choubey
    rated it liked it
    Dec 31, 2019
    rated it really liked it
    Feb 07, 2020
    rated it it was amazing
    Feb 12, 2020
    Kim Fernandes
    rated it it was amazing
    Jan 30, 2020
    Shana Zucker
    rated it really liked it
    Feb 17, 2020
    Michael  Adam Carroll
    rated it it was amazing
    Dec 25, 2019
    « previous 1 3 4 next »

    Readers also enjoyed

    • Uncanny Valley
    • American Dirt
    • The Girl with the Louding Voice
    • Interior Chinatown
    • Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas
    • Topics of Conversation
    • Excavation: A Memoir
    • The Magical Language of Others
    • Cleanness
    • Such a Fun Age
    • Neon in Daylight
    • Siri, Who Am I?
    • Cantoras
    • The Nickel Boys
    • Long Bright River
    • Ordinary Girls
    • Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed
    • Why We Can't Sleep: Women's New Midlife Crisis
    See similar books…