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Enrique's Journey (The Young Adult Adaptation)
Cover of Enrique's Journey (The Young Adult Adaptation)
Enrique's Journey (The Young Adult Adaptation)
The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with His Mother
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In this bestselling true story, one Honduran boy goes in search of his mother, who left to find work in the United States ten years ago—when he was just seven years old. This is the true and...
In this bestselling true story, one Honduran boy goes in search of his mother, who left to find work in the United States ten years ago—when he was just seven years old. This is the true and...
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  • In this bestselling true story, one Honduran boy goes in search of his mother, who left to find work in the United States ten years ago—when he was just seven years old.

    This is the true and heartbreaking story of sixteen-year-old Enrique, who sets off on a journey alone to find his mother, who he has not seen for eleven years, not since she left her starving family and illegally entered the United States, hoping to make enough money to send home to Honduras.

    With little more in his pocket than a slip of paper bearing his mother's phone number, Enrique embarks on a treacherous odyssey, traveling by clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains. Even when confronted by bandits, thugs, and corrupt cops, he is determined to complete his journey, often buoyed by the kindness of strangers or simply by luck finding water or food. In the face of this hostile world, Enrique's love for his mother and his desire to be reunited with her endure and triumph.

    Enrique's journey tells the larger story of undocumented Latin American migrants in the United States. His is an inspiring and timeless tale about the meaning of family and fortitude that brings to light the daily struggles of migrants, legal and otherwise, and the complicated choices they face. The issues seamlessly interwoven into this gripping nonfiction work for young people, based on the adult phenomenon Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother and the Pulitzer Price-winning Los Angeles Times newspaper series that inspired it, are perfect for common core usage and for discussions of current events.
    Includes an 8-page photo insert, as well as an epilogue that describes what has happened to Enrique and his family since the adult edition was published.
    Praise for Enrique's Journey

    "A heartwrenching account. Provides a human face, both beautiful and scarred, for the undocumented. A must read." —Kirkus Reviews, Starred

    "This powerfully written survival story personalizes the complicated, pervasive, and heart-wrenching debates about immigration and immigrants' rights and will certainly spark discussion in the classroom and at home."—Booklist


  • From the book

    The boy does not understand.His mother is not talking to him. She will not even look at
    him. Enrique has no hint of what she is going to do.
    Lourdes knows. She understands, as only a mother can, the
    terror she is about to inflict, the ache Enrique will feel, and finally
    the emptiness.

    What will become of him? Already he will not let anyone
    else feed or bathe him. He loves her deeply, as only a son can.
    With Lourdes, he is openly affectionate. "Dame pico, mami. Give
    me a kiss, Mom," he pleads, over and over, pursing his lips.
    With Lourdes, he is a chatterbox. "Mira, mami. Look, Mom," he
    says softly, asking her questions about everything he sees. Without
    her, he is so shy it is crushing.

    Slowly, she walks out onto the porch. Enrique clings to her
    pant leg. Beside her, he is tiny. Lourdes loves him so much she
    cannot bring herself to say a word. She cannot carry his picture.
    It would melt her resolve. She cannot hug him. He is five
    years old.

    They live on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, in Honduras.
    She can barely afford food for him and his sister, Belky, who is
    seven. She's never been able to buy them a toy or a birthday
    cake. Lourdes, twenty-four, scrubs other people's laundry in a
    muddy river. She goes door to door, selling tortillas, used
    clothes, and plantains.

    She fills a wooden box with gum and crackers and cigarettes,
    and she finds a spot where she can squat on a dusty sidewalk
    next to the downtown Pizza Hut and sell the items to
    passersby. The sidewalk is Enrique's playground.
    They have a bleak future. He and Belky are not likely to finish
    grade school. Lourdes cannot afford uniforms or pencils.
    Her husband is gone. A good job is out of the question.
    Lourdes knows of only one place that offers hope. As a
    seven-year-old child, delivering tortillas her mother made to
    wealthy homes, she glimpsed this place on other people's television
    screens. The flickering images were a far cry from Lourdes's
    childhood home: a two-room shack made of wooden slats,
    its flimsy tin roof weighted down with rocks, the only bathroom
    a clump of bushes outside. On television, she saw New York
    City's spectacular skyline, Las Vegas's shimmering lights, Disneyland's
    magic castle.

    Lourdes has decided: She will leave. She will go to the
    United States and make money and send it home. She will be
    gone for one year--less, with luck--or she will bring her children
    to be with her. It is for them she is leaving, she tells herself,
    but still she feels guilty.

    She kneels and kisses Belky and hugs her tightly. Then she
    turns to her own sister. If she watches over Belky, she will get a
    set of gold fingernails from el Norte.
    But Lourdes cannot face Enrique. He will remember only
    one thing that she says to him: "Don't forget to go to church
    this afternoon."

    It is January 29, 1989. His mother steps off the porch.
    She walks away.
    "¿Dónde está mi mami?" Enrique cries, over and over. "Where
    is my mom?"

    His mother never returns, and that decides Enrique's fate.
    As a teenager--indeed, still a child--he will set out for the
    United States on his own to search for her. Virtually unnoticed,
    he will become one of an estimated 48,000 children who enter
    the United States from Central America and Mexico each year,
    illegally and without either of their parents. Roughly two thirds
    of them will make it past the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization

    Many go north seeking work. Others flee abusive families.
    Most of the Central Americans go to reunite with a...

About the Author-

  • SONIA NAZARIO was a projects reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She has spent more than two decades reporting and writing about social issues and has won the Pulitzer Prize for her work on the Los Angeles Times series that served as the basis for the adult edition of Enrique's Journey. Sonia Nazario lives in Los Angeles with her husband.


  • Kirkus

    Starred review from July 15, 2013
    2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning author Nazario's critically acclaimed book Enrique's Journey, a heart-wrenching account of one young man's journey to migrate illegally from Honduras to the United States to find the mother who left when he was 5, has been newly adapted for young people. Nazario's vividly descriptive narrative recreates the trek that teenage Enrique made from Honduras through Mexico on the tops of freight trains. This adaptation does not gloss over or omit the harrowing dangers--beatings, rape, maiming and murder--faced by migrants coming north from Central America. The material is updated to present current statistics about immigration, legal and illegal, and also addresses recent changes in the economic and political climates of the U.S., Mexico and Honduras, including the increased danger of gang violence related to drug trafficking in Mexico. The book will likely inspire reflection, discussion and debate about illegal immigration among its intended audience. But the facts and figures never overwhelm the human story. The epilogue allows readers who are moved by Enrique to follow the family's tragedies and triumphs since the book's original publication; the journey does not end upon reaching the United States. Provides a human face, both beautiful and scarred, for the undocumented--a must-read. (epilogue, afterword, notes) (Nonfiction. 14 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2013

    Gr 7 Up-When Enrique was seven years old, his mother, a single parent faced with crippling economic difficulties in her native Honduras, migrated to the United States in hopes of securing a brighter future for her family. While her sacrifice provided important economic advantages, the separation eventually drove 17-year-old Enrique to embark on a four-month, 12,000 mile journey to reunite with her, traveling largely on the rooftops of trains into the United States as an undocumented migrant. In this updated version of Enrique's Journey (Random, 2006), adapted for young adult readers, Nazario offers a compelling account of a young man's brave efforts to find the parent he had not seen in 10 years, and that reunion's complex, unforeseen consequences. The journey tells the larger story of undocumented Latin American migrants in the United States. This adaptation has been tightened to focus more on Enrique's personal story, although some unflattering details (including drug use and problems with the law) have been slightly smoothed over. Nazario's straightforward, almost clipped, journalistic writing style largely serves the complex, sprawling story effectively. Backmatter includes an afterword offering substantial analysis of issues at play with undocumented migrants and notes detailing Nazario's research and writing process, including the re-creation of certain dialogue. Exploring important issues of immigration on both a personal and global scale, this title would be a valuable addition to young adult collections.-Ted McCoy, Oakland Public Library, CA

    Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Newsday Praise & Awards for Enrique's Journey

    2011 Williams College Book Award Program, for "Enrique's Journey"
    2006 California Book Award, Silver Medal, Non-fiction
    2006 Christopher Book Award
    2003 Pulitzer Prize, feature writing, for "Enrique's Journey"
    2002 George Polk Award for International Reporting, for "Enrique's Journey"
    2002 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Outstanding Coverage of the Problems of the Disadvantaged, Grand Prize Winner, for "Enrique's Journey"

    "A prodigious feat of reporting . . . vivid and detailed . . . [Nazario is] amazingly thorough and intrepid."
  • The Washington Post Book World "A stirring and troubling book about a magnificent journey. . . . It's the stuff of myth . . . [but] Enrique's Journey is true . . . A microcosm of the massive exodus pouring over the borders of our nations. . . . Enrique's suffering and bravery become universal, and one cannot fail to be moved by the desperation and sheer strength of spirit that guides these lonely wanderers. . . . Enrique's Journey is about love. It's about family. It's about home. . . . The border will continue to trouble the dreams of anyone who is paying attention. . . . Enrique's Journey is among the best border books yet written."
  • San Francisco Chronicle "An amazing tale . . . for some journalists, research means sitting at a computer and surfing Google . . . For Sonia Nazario . . . it means leaving home for months at a time to sit on top of a moving freight train running the length of Mexico, risking gangsters and bandits and the occasional tree branch that might knock her off and thrust her under the wheels. It means not eating, drinking water or going to the bathroom for 16-hour stretches-all in service to the story."
  • Dallas Morning News "Compelling . . . Nazario doesn't pull any punches."
  • People (four stars) "[A] searing report from the immigration frontlines . . . as harrowing as it is heartbreaking. . . . [Nazario] is a fearless reporter who traveled hundreds of miles atop freight trains in order to palpably re-create the danger that faces young migrants as they flee north."
  • Entertainment Weekly "Stunning . . . As an adventure narrative alone, Enrique's Journey is a worthy read. . . . Nazario's impressive piece of reporting . . . turn[s] the current immigration controversy from a political story into a personal one."
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Gripping . . . astounding . . . viscerally conveys the experience of illegal immigration from Central America . . . [Nazario] has crafted her findings into a story that is at once moving and polemical."
  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "This portrait of poverty and family ties has the potential to reshape American conversations about immigration."
  • San Francisco Chronicle "A meticulously documented account of an epic journey, one undertaken by thousands of children every year . . . [Nazario] covers both positive and negative effects of immigration, illuminating the problem's complexity. . . . In telling Enrique's story [she] bears witness for us all."
  • The Christian Science Monitor "Gripping and harrowing . . . a story begging to be told . . . readers fed up with the ongoing turf wars between fact and fiction, take note: Here is fantastic stunt reporting that places this sometimes hard-to-believe story squarely in the realm of nonfiction."
  • The San Diego Union-Tribune "Compelling . . . drama, pathos, and [the] hot topic of illegal immigration."
  • The Orange County Register "[Enrique's Journey] personifies one of the greatest migrations in history. . . . Much of the book is a thriller . . . a 12,000-mile journey worthy of an Indiana Jones movie."
  • The Plain Dealer "Riveting . . . expert reporting . . . Nazario puts a human face upon a major issue. . . . The breadth and depth of [her] research is astounding."
  • The Daily Nonpareil "A heart-racing and heart-rending trip."
  • Library Journal "Insightful and beautifully written and sheds a great deal of light on the horrific journeys immigrants risk to find a better life. Highly recommended."
  • Tu Ciudad "A story readers won't soon forget."
  • Booklist "This is a harrowing odyssey that depicts one young man's attempts to reunite with his mother and the social and economic issues involved in illegal immigration."

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    Random House Children's Books
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