Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border

Mitali Perkins, illus. by Sara Palacios. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-374-30373-0
Perkins, a YA author making a powerful picture book debut, and Palacios (How to Code a Sandcastle) have created a story based around La Posada Sin Fronteras (“The Inn Without Borders”), a San Diego–Tijuana border wall tradition that occurs during the nine-day festival of Las Posadas (an afterword provides more background). Maria; her little brother, Juan; and their mother take a bus to the U.S. side to hear the Christmas story, sing carols, worship with other separated families, and have a fleeting face-to-face moment through the fencing with beloved Abuela, who has traveled from her Mexican village to see them for the first time in five years. “For a moment,” Maria says, “the fences are invisible.” But when Border Patrol won’t let Juan give Abuela his drawing of Mary and Joseph (“Inns No rume” the picture reads), Maria takes matters into her own hands and cleverly flies it over the wall as a kite. Cartoon drawings emphasize the resilience of Abuela and her family as they navigate the border landscape, the impenetrable wall, and a situation that feels unfathomable—but is, unfortunately, all too based in reality. Ages 3–6. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 05/23/2019
Release date: 09/10/2019
Genre: Children's
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