Children of the Land

Children of the Land

eBook - 2020
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An Entertainment Weekly, The Millions, and LitHub Most Anticipated Book of 2020 This unforgettable memoir from a prize-winning poet about growing up undocumented in the United States recounts the sorrows and joys of a family torn apart by draconian policies and chronicles one young man's attempt to build a future in a nation that denies his existence. "You were not a ghost even though an entire country was scared of you. No one in this story was a ghost. This was not a story." When Marcelo Hernandez Castillo was five years old and his family was preparing to cross the border between Mexico and the United States, he suffered temporary, stress-induced blindness. Castillo regained his vision, but quickly understood that he had to move into a threshold of invisibility before settling in California with his parents and siblings. Thus began a new life of hiding in plain sight and of paying extraordinarily careful attention at all times for fear of being truly seen. Before Castillo was one of the most celebrated poets of a generation, he was a boy who perfected his English in the hopes that he might never seem extraordinary. With beauty, grace, and honesty, Castillo recounts his and his family's encounters with a system that treats them as criminals for seeking safe, ordinary lives. He writes of the Sunday afternoon when he opened the door to an ICE officer who had one hand on his holster, of the hours he spent making a fake social security card so that he could work to support his family, of his father's deportation and the decade that he spent waiting to return to his wife and children only to be denied reentry, and of his mother's heartbreaking decision to leave her children and grandchildren so that she could be reunited with her estranged husband and retire from a life of hard labor. Children of the Land distills the trauma of displacement, illuminates the human lives behind the headlines and serves as a stunning meditation on what it means to be a man and a citizen.
Publisher: 2020
ISBN: 9780062825605
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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TFanC Jun 25, 2020

I recommend that we read and listen to as many authentic stories as we can to better understand the experiences of others and not to let a single voice define our views. Children of the Land is one of the books I recommend to help see the complicated issues of immigration. Children of the Land is a beautifully written memoir that illuminates the challenges of being undocumented. Throughout the memoir are motifs of visibility and duality that represent the paradoxes of Marcelo's experience.

Apr 17, 2020

A beautiful and necessary read for the way Hernandez Castillo viscerally lays bare the inherent unfairness and high toll the current system takes on families and communities on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border

STPL_JessH Mar 22, 2020

Spend any amount of time with me and I will recommend a book. For people who spend lots of time with me, they will know that I save some descriptors for very, very special books. Children of the Land is one such book. It is a masterpiece. Castillo is honest, unflinching, brave, vulnerable, careful, and poetic. I consider it an honour to read his work. Though I could say much more, I would prefer to let this story speak for itself. I strongly encourage you to open your heart to this beautiful and painful book.

#ownvoices #immigrant #memoir #poetry


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Apr 17, 2020

Hernandez Castillo uses his prodigious poetic craft to plumb each family member’s odyssey through the U.S. immigration system and its Kafkaesque labyrinthine il-logic for the raw emotion and trauma from battering against the cold shoulder of bureaucracy while living under a cloud of uncertainty and fear.


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