Worth reading . . . .
Sometimes, it takes a child's perspective to help us see things as they really are.
Julia Alvarez demonstrates as much in Return to Sender, a book for young readers (10 and older) that takes apart the problem of illegal immigration in all its complexity through the moving story of a Mexican migrant worker girl and the Vermont farm boy she befriends.
Alvarez's research for the book led her to explore the profound effects on families of workplace raids by the Department of Homeland Security, such as 2006's Operation Return to Sender, which eventually led to the arrests of more than 2,000 undocumented workers. She ended up using the raid's moniker as her book's title.
A poet and author of numerous books, including How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of Butterflies, Alvarez grew familiar with the bitter political arguments that surround illegal immigration. Yet the story she weaves through her young characters in Return to Sender carries none of the ego, anger and polemics that too often hinder productive discussions about the issue.