Hear My Voice/ Escucha Mi Voz


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Today we are going to talk about a controversial subject that I usually avoid. I see both sides of the discussion and don't usually try to debate either. The issue is immigration. Now unless you are 100% Native American somewhere in your family history someone immigrated here. I know when I was growing up I had many friends whose families immigrated here from Asia to get away during the wars there. Several of them say the United States is the best country in the world. I am so glad their families made it out or at least part of their families did. Many lost family members while escaping. I understand the need for people to immigrate. To leave all they have known and come to America, the land of dreams. However then I look around and realize we cannot even take care of our own people. Look at all the homeless, poor, starving people we have including some veterans who were willing to lay down their lives for our country but now are not taken care of by the country. Do we really want more to add to the mix? It is hard and I am sure it is really hard for the politicians to figure out fair ways to control it. However I know one thing for sure, today's book shines a light on a major problem our country is experiencing and needs to change. The book is Hear My Voice/Escucha Mi Voz complied by Warren Binford for Project Amplify.

From the Publisher: 

The moving stories of children in migration—in their own words.

Every day, children in migration are detained at the US-Mexico border. They are scared, alone, and their lives are in limbo. Hear My Voice/Escucha mi voz shares the stories of 61 these children, from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador, and Mexico, ranging in age from five to seventeen—in their own words from actual sworn testimonies. Befitting the spirit of the project, the book is in English on one side; then flip it over, and there's a complete Spanish version.

Illustrated by 17 Latinx artists, including Caldecott Medalist and multiple Pura Belpré Illustrator Award-winning Yuyi Morales and Pura Belpré Illustrator Award-winning Raὺl the Third. Includes information, questions, and action points. Buying this book benefits Project Amplify, an organization that supports children in migration.

From Me:
This book is powerful. This book is heartbreaking. The simple words in this book make it readable for younger kids. It is recommended for age 8 on up. It is a book that should be read by every adult in America. We need to hear these words. The words come straight from sworn depositions from the children who are being detained at the southern border. Each has his or her own story of the journey and reason they left all they knew to come to America. Some had to escape violence and could not wait for the legal process to take place to immigrate. Most have an adult in the United States ready to take them in--a parent, an aunt or uncle, family friend, etc. All have horrific stories of how they have been treated once setting foot in the United States and as an adult, former teacher, and mother I can say it is appalling that any adult in this country would treat kids--any kids in this way and think it is all right. 

 This book is beautifully compiled. It has illustrations from different artists. It also has many explanations. It starts with a Foreward from Michael Garcia Bochenek from the Human Rights Watch and he shares is own experiences as a court-ordered inspector of the immigration detention centers for children. He shares the changes he has personally witnessed in them and the horrors that he is hearing about directly from the children. Then there is the story for the children with the amazing artists illustrations. The stories are sad and scary. The kids talk about their families, the reasons they had to leave, the journey, and how they have been treated since arriving. 

After the story there are pages with information about the illustrators and there is a section called "Amplifying Children's Voices". In this section it shares about the laws that the US Government has agreed to when detaining children at the border. Needless to say these laws are not happening. Warren Binford shares some of his own experiences on these inspections as well as the changes he has seen as well. He also shares some of the things people are doing to try to help. Then there are questions to ask and things to think about to help kids process the book as well as to help with discussions about the book. Then there are ideas of how you and your family can help. 

This book shares the children's stories in a way that other children can hear and learn as well as a way that adults will open their eyes more and realize what is going on in our own country. It is a story that brings current events to kids in a way that can be discussed in classrooms and families. I truly hope you will check out this book.