By Jose Manual Mateo
Illustrated by Javier Martinez Pedro
Published by Abrams

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 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.


Reviews & Accolades
“A family’s desperate journey from Mexico to Los Angeles unfolds through a boy’s first-person narration in this striking bilingual, codex-style book, with accordion-style pages to be read vertically.”  —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Content and design coalesce in a handsome presentation that invites readers to decode intriguing images in a pastoral setting suggestive of folklore—and in the process, arouses empathy for the all-too-real risks surrounding migrants… Breathtaking.” —Kirkus Reviews  

“A distinctive, thoughtful, and empathetic view of life as an undocumented young person,look at a difficult and very relevant political issue, this will make an excellent starting point for classroom discussions.” —Booklist

The story of undocumented migration is told in an easygoing but insistent voice, reflecting a child’s-eye view of leaving home for a bewildering new one… The intricate image unfolds slowly, pulling the reader along from rural fields to the streets of L.A., and makes a breathtaking feast for eyes to carefully examine in full when opened completely.” —The Bulletin of The Center for Children’s Books

The most striking feature is the genre-defying format: the book is constructed in the style of a codex—one long, vertical panel that reads from top to bottom. Mateo’s poetic and sparse text appears as short paragraphs along the lefthand side, while Pedro’s intricately detailed black-and-white drawings unfold dramatically to a length of over five feet. Readers will want to pore over the jam-packed illustrations, absorbing the various storylines interwoven throughout the long panel. The reverse side features a duplicate of the illustrated panel with a Spanish translation.” —School Library Journal

Groups Represented
Mexican American

Illegal Immigration
Family Relationships
Undocumented Workers


Engagement Projects
 An author’s note explains the construction of the book (codex) and the unique style of drawing and imagery (amate) before discoursing on the human-rights issues that drive the story.