Ch_jank-caporale's Reviews > Crossing the Wire

Crossing the Wire by Will Hobbs
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U 50x66
's review
Feb 20, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: realistic-fiction
Read from February 20 to 24, 2010

When Victor Flores' best friend, Rico, leaves Mexico to go to the United States, Victor is left behind to break the news to Rico's parents. Rico's family is comfortable compared to Victor's so he's angry with his friend for causing his parents so much heart ache. When falling corn prices threatens absolute poverty for Victor's family, he must follow in Rico's footsteps but without the coyote money to get him "across the wire."
The book does an excellent job presenting the economic challenges of young Mexicans (and other Central and S. Americans)and also the dangers, the determination, and the suffering they must endure as part of the hope for a life beyond begging in their home countries. For me, the real value in the book is in the discussion of what lies ahead for Victor now that he's in el norte. Without an education, without a greencard, he has no security, and can only earn minimum wage (sometimes not even that!), yet the few dollars he makes will support his entire family back home. What is Victor's obligation to them? For how long? and how long can he sustain the hard labor he'll have to do to keep sending them money, not to mention the work he'll have to do not to get caught, not to be sent back.
Several times a year we lose students from our ELL classes. They disappear suddenly and the rumor is they've been "sent back." I think its important that our students know what that means- to be deported- for their friends and their friends' families. Even Hispanic students who have not experienced that journey themselves have little concept of the danger and the desperation that drives "illegals" to risk so much. This book makes the story accessible. It raises great social issue questions, and could generate very interesting class discussion. Well written, too. I recommend it for middle school and high school students.

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