Until Someone Listens -- New Picture Book Review


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

It is hard to believe that Hispanic Heritage Month ends this week. I am so behind the ball these days. Getting used to working full time, having older parents and getting sick, are not giving me the time to write as much as I would like. I have two books I want to share for Hispanic Heritage Month and today I will share the picture book. It is Until Someone Listens by Estela Juarez with Lissette Norman and illustrated by Teresa Martinez. It is recommended for ages 4 to 8 and is also available in Spanish

From the Publisher:

When Estela Juarez's mom is deported to Mexico, Estela knows she has to speak up for her family. Told in Estela's own words, Until Someone Listens is a true story about a young girl finding her voice and using it to make change.

Estela’s family lives together in a happy home full of love. Or, at least, they used to… until their home was torn apart.

My mom had to go back,
to the other side of the river,
because she wasn’t born in this country.

For years her family fought and fought for permission for her to stay in the U.S. But no one listened. When Estela was eight, her mother was deported to Mexico.

Estela knew she had to do something. So she wrote letters: to local newspapers, Congress, the President, and anyone else who could help. She wrote and wrote and wrote until, finally… someone listened.

In this heart wrenching, autobiographical story, Estela Juarez's letters take her from the local news all the way to the national stage, where she discovers the power in her words and pledges to keep using her voice until her family—and others like hers— are together again.

From Me:

Imagine being the child of a U.S. Marine and being told that your mother had to go back to Mexico and could not return to the United States. This is the basis of this story. Estella shares her own experience with the immigration laws tearing her family apart. It didn't matter that her father fought for the United States as a Marine. All that mattered was her mother was undocumented. Her mother got torn away from her family and sent back to Mexico. This book brings the current events from the past few Presidents right into focus and gives it a heart and face. Through Estella's journey she discovered her words have power and this is an important lesson for all kids to learn.

I love that this book shares the Mexican culture throughout it with the foods Estela's mother cooks and the Spanish words like the hummingbird, colibri. The hummingbird is referenced throughout the story and of course it ties back to Mexico and Latin America as well. The beginning of the book shares the family's love and happiness. It shares family togetherness. It also gives a bit of history about Estela's mother and her coming to the United States. As a young child, Estela knew she needed to do something. She wrote letters and got interviews and her words gave her some power. What a great lesson for kids to learn. I love how this book brings current events and discussions to our younger kids in a way that they can handle. No matter what side of the debate you are on you should be interested in hearing a real story from a young child. It is touching and illustrates some flaws that I personally did not know there were with our immigration laws. I knew they were flawed but did not realize they would tear a family apart if they were married and one of them was a legal citizen. I hope you will check it out.