School Library Journal
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Gr 3-6An effective photo essay covering an 11-year-old boy's daily life in the fields and at school as well as general information about migrant workers. The text introduces Ricky and his family in both their celebrations and struggles. An optimistic tone is ever present, though it is made clear that few people, if any, would choose this life style. The full-color photos are crisp, engaging, and attractively positioned to support the text. A good introduction for young readers looking for factual material, Ricky's story could also be used with Linda Jacobs Altman's Amelia's Road (Lee & Low, 1993) or Shirley A. Williams's Working Cotton (Harcourt, 1992). Report writers will also want to check out Brent Ashabranner's Dark Harvest (Dodd, 1985; o.p.) and S. Beth Atkin's Voices from the Fields (Little, 1993). Hoyt-Goldsmith and Migdale are a talented team, and their efforts deserve serious attention.Jody McCoy, Casady School, Oklahoma City (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Gr. 4^-7. There's an upbeat quality to this photo-essay about an 11-year-old Mexican American migrant worker on the Texas border. The text includes the harsh facts of child labor, poverty, and separated families, but the pictures show a smiling Ricardo "Ricky" Benitez, proud of his family, his culture, and his success in his wonderful bilingual school. In some detail, he talks about his neighborhood in the Rio Grande Valley, his job (during the summer he travels with his family to distant farms to work long hours in the fields), and how important education is to him as a way up. The design is a bit of a hodge-podge; the first-person narrative doesn't always sound like Ricky's voice, and the switch to third person in the photo captions and sidebars is jarring. Also included is an account of Cesar Chavez and the struggle of the United Farm Workers. Ricky knows he's lucky--most migrant workers aren't able to stay in one place during the school year--but the grim facts are here, too, and his personal story does give a human face to the migrant farmworkers in the U.S. Kids will be drawn to the story of a boy like them. --Hazel Rochman