La Línea by Ann Jaramillo. Roaring Brook Press, 2006
From CCBC Choices 2007: Fifteen-year-old Miguel and his thirteen-year-old sister, Elena, have been waiting to join their parents in California for years when they finally set off from their small, impoverished Mexican village. Neither teen knows what a harrowing journey they are about to undertake. Because they will be crossing the U.S. border illegally, the obstacles they face on both sides are huge and often deadly. In their own country, there is the threat of soldiers, and the bandits who attack the trains on which the would-be immigrants desperately cling as they ride atop the cars. And then there is the desert crossing. In those desperate heat-dazed days, a fellow immigrant who had become Miguel and Elena’s protector dies of thirst and sickness, while their guide is shot by self-appointed militia members patrolling the U.S. side of the border. Miguel and Elena make the journey to change their lives, and it changes them in ways they could not have imagined. Ann Jaramillo is a middle school teacher in a Texas border community. She wrote La Línea for her students, many of whom have made journeys that parallel Miguel and Elena’s. Her timely novel reminds readers that human hearts and hopes and dreams cannot be defined or restrained by laws or politics.