A Journey Toward Hope
By Victor Hinojosa and Coert Voorhees, illustrated by Susan Guevara (Six Foot Press and Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty)
How do parents, teachers, librarians and church workers answer children’s questions or talk to them about migrant girls and boys? A Journey Toward Hope seeks to help. Written in collaboration with Baylor University undergraduate students in his “Child Migration in the Western Hemisphere” course, political science professor Victor Hinojosa and award-winning author Coert Voorhees pen a beautiful picture-book for grades 1-3. Illustrator Susan Guevara, granddaughter of Guatemalan immigrants, adds enchanting images that enhance the reader’s connection.
In the story, four children represent the approximately 50,000 unaccompanied minors, most from Central America’s violent triangle, who annually make the dangerous journey toward a hopeful future in the United States. Ten-year-old Alessandra from Guatemala, 14-year-old Rodrigo from Honduras, and 13-year-old Laura and her 7-year-old brother Nando from El Salvador say their tearful good-byes. Rodrigo and Alessandra meet as they near Mexico. Laura and Nando join them as the four “huddle on the same cardboard mattress” in Oaxaca. The little band becomes family, together navigating the long and perilous trip marked by mishaps, kindness and sacred dream-sharing moments. Although the book closes as the friends gaze across the Rio Grande, their story lingers in the heart.
A Journey Toward Hope introduces a challenging and complex subject with compassion and sensitivity. Four pages of resources augment the children’s story. These include maps, notes about the composite characters, ways to become involved and explanations of the cultural significance of illustrations. A Journey Toward Hope is a must for homes, churches, schools and anyone who seeks greater understanding of migrant children, their families and their journeys.
Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president
Baptist General Convention of Texas