Journey of the Sparrows

Fran Leeper Buss, Author Dutton Books $15 (160p) ISBN 978-0-525-67362-0
Maria , her brother and sister arrive in the U.S. from El Salvador, jammed inside a nailed crate. Having left their mother and baby sister in Mexico, they are ready to take up the twilight existence of the illegal alien in Chicago. Maria and her siblings not only face extradition if caught, but nearly certain death if returned to their homeland. Sister Julia is pregnant, and it falls to Maria to learn English, look for work and find food for her family. In retelling the plight of Central American refugees, Buss, with the assistance of Cubias, a poet and activist from El Salvador, delicately avoids the obvious and didactic pitfalls in describing this all-too-common problem. By not dwelling on the brutality of the Guardias in El Salvador (who killed Maria's father and Julia's husband) and the numbing details of poverty, she makes this a surprisingly entertaining and hopeful story. Ages 10-14. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
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