cover image My Two Border Towns

My Two Border Towns

David Bowles, illus. by Erika Meza. Kokila, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-11104-8

“Every other Saturday,” this story’s child narrator and his father, who reside in the U.S., set out for the Mexican side of the border near where they live. Meza (Balloons for Papa) pours artistry into mixed-media images of the towns, which mirror each other across the river—“a watery serpent that glints with the dawn,” writes Bowles (Rise of the Halfling King), making his picture book debut. The two show their documents and cross the boundary into the town, brought to life visually with sunny shades of yellow, brick red, and magenta. They make stops at the boy’s aunt and uncle’s jewelry shop, at a grocery for snacks, a doctor’s office for medication, then take much of what they’ve gathered to a family who is camping along the border bridge: “Refugees... Stuck between countries. The U.S. says there’s no room, and Mexico says it can hardly look after its own gente.” Acknowledging their own “duty to care for our gente,” and the “cards that give us the freedom/ to travel back and forth,” the father and son look forward—with warmth and care—to a “wonderful day,” when passage between the border towns isn’t limited. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Taylor Martindale Kean, Full Circle Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Claire Cartey, Holroyde Cartey. (Aug.) [/em]