About this book
Caravan to the North
Misael’s Long Walk
Jorge Argueta • Manuel Monroy • Elizabeth Bell
This novel in verse is a powerful first-person account of Misael Martínez, a Salvadoran boy whose family joins the caravan heading north to the United States. We learn all the different reasons why people feel the need to leave — the hope that lies behind their decision, but also the terrible sadness of leaving home. We learn about how far and hard the trip is, but also about the kindness of those along the way.
Finally, once the caravan arrives in Tijuana, Misael and those around him are relieved. They think they have arrived at the goal of the trip — to enter the United States. But then tear gas, hateful demonstrations, force and fear descend on these vulnerable people. The border is closed. The book ends with Misael dreaming of El Salvador.
This beautiful and timely story is written in simple but poetic verse by Jorge Argueta, the award-winning author of Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds. Award-winning Mexican illustrator Manuel Monroy illuminates Misael’s journey. An author’s note is included, along with a map showing the caravan’s route.
About the Creators
Jorge Argueta is an award-winning author of picture books and poetry for young children. He has won the International Latino Book Award, the Américas Book Award, the NAPPA Gold Award and the Independent Publisher Book Award for Multicultural Fiction for Juveniles. His books have also been named to the Américas Award Commended List, the USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List, Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books and the Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices. Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds, illustrated by Alfonso Ruano, won the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, was a Malka Penn Award for Human Rights in Children’s Literature honor book and an ALA Notable book, and received many other honors. A native Salvadoran and Pipil Nahua Indian, Jorge Argueta has returned to El Salvador and built a library in his backyard in San Salvador so that children can learn to love books.
Manuel Monroy is one of Mexico’s most celebrated illustrators who has exhibited his art in Mexico, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Italy, the Netherlands and Japan. He has won the A la Orilla del Viento and the Noma Concours Encouragement Prize, and he has been included on the IBBY Honour List. His illustrations appear in Rooster / Gallo, Be a Baby (Se un bebé), When I Was a Boy Neruda Called Me Policarpo, What Are You Doing? and Why Are You Doing That? He lives in Mexico City.
Awards and Praise
Praise for Jorge Argueta, Manuel Monroy and Caravan to the North:
2020 USBBY Outstanding International Books List
NCTE Notable Poetry Book and Verse Novel, 2020
“[T]he understated, pared-down language and generous white space make Misael’s story accessible to younger and reluctant readers”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The award-winning Salvadoran writer Argueta offers a brief but powerful novel in verse. … [His] spare text is given emotional potency through Misael’s observations of the members of the caravan …” Booklist, starred review
“Deceptively simple black-and-white line drawings accompany this wrenching account of the humanitarian crisis taking place in Central America and at the U.S. border. … This moving work should help children understand the current national discussion.” Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Jorge Argueta, Alfonso Ruano and Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds:
“With tenderness and humanity, this bilingual book describes the hopes, fears, and uncertainties of the thousands of displaced children that arrive every year at the southern border of the United States. … Poignant, heartbreaking, and, sadly, timely.” Kirkus, starred review
“Argueta and Ruano present a unique and much-needed perspective on the reasons driving young people to immigrate to the U.S., in particular the desire to reunite with family.” Booklist, starred review
“Argueta’s bilingual collection of poems gives voice to the many refugee children who emigrate from Central American countries to the United States in search of safety or better lives. … The poems, written in the first person, present the candid perspective of the children’s experiences.” Horn Book, starred review