Reading The Only Road will make your students better humans | Mentoring in the Middle

Reading The Only Road will make your students better humans

Some books have staying power.  This is one of them.

The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz

I first read and reviewed this book two years ago.  You can read that review here.  And then Covid happened. 

But images from the book kept coming back.  And questions.  So many questions.

"I just wish we could take a break and help people here before we allow more immigrants to come into our country,"  a friend of mine said recently.  I get that feeling.  We're all feeling a little worn down.  But people in crisis need help.  Today.  This is a tough issue!  

I'm fascinated by books that wanted to make issues around immigration accessible to middle-grade students so that, if they had a position, they would have resources that showed both points of view.  Experiencing it through fictional characters is a great way for us to learn!
 So, I did two things.  

    1.  I wrote a nonfiction reading comprehension passage about why - but also how - people flee.  The troubled Northern Triangle region of Central America is Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.  These torn-apart countries suffer from governments made unstable by powerful gangs who use violence, drugs, and money to dominate.  
Central American immigration passage for middle school

The passage comes with a 10 question assessment.  You can find it here.

But The Only Road stayed in my mind, even after reading other books.  

    2.  So I created a novel study guide, to make it a book that could be read whole class, in small         groups, or individually.  The guide is filled with reading comprehension questions, text                  structure analysis, and thoughtful comparisons of culture.

The book is written from Jaime's point of view, as he travels with his cousin, Angela, through Mexico to get to the United States.  It is a powerful story of violence that makes them run from everything they know and love, for the sake of being able to choose for themselves who they want to be.

It is ultimately, a book of hope.  One your students will learn from and enjoy.  And have their horizons expanded just a bit. Which is, ultimately, what we want for our students, isn't it?

 The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz

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