Going Home by Eve Bunting is a unique book that portrays a Mexican family that goes on a trip back to Mexico. The narrator of the story, Maria, is the middle child of three daughters. After having three children, Maria's parents immigrated to the U.S. in order to provide "more opportunities" for their daughters. Even though Maria was born in Mexico, and therefore her parents call it her "home," Maria's narrative reveals her confusion of whether to call it her real home. Maria describes her excitement and nervousness as they drive across the border and drive through other Mexican towns. Once she arrives in La Perla (the name of her parents' hometown), Maria realizes all the similarities and difference between La Perla and where she lives in the U.S. Even though Maria is young, she begins to understand how happier and more comfortable her parents seem at La Perla and realizes how much her parents have given up in order to provide more opportunities for their daughters. The book ends when Maria has this epiphany and her older sister tells her that their parents are planning to move back to La Perla someday. Maria understands this and smiles and thinks, "Good, it will be after our opportunities."
I loved this book because the illustration is colorful, unique, and reflective of Maria's Mexican culture. The background pages are also photos of real objects that are significant to the Mexican culture, such as dolls used in celebration of the Day of the Dead and hay-woven decorations. Unlike other books about immigrants that tell stories of how people assimilate to the American society, Going Home reveals the reality of many immigrants who only come to the U.S. for the opportunities but end up going back home because of their extended family. This is also a great book for students who are 1.5 immigrant generations who probably could relate to Maria's confusion and realization throughout the book. Additionally, this book is a great way to show the similarities and differences between two countries divided only by a border.
Uses in the Classroom
I would use this book mainly to teach students about immigration. The main vocabulary word that students will learn about will be opportunities - for that is the reason why most people immigrate to the U.S. Students will learn to answer questions such as: Why are there more opportunities in the U.S.? Why do people move to the U.S. when all their family and friends are back where they were born? How hard is it for immigrants to assimilate to the American culture (learning English, fitting in to society, etc). Students can learn about such topics through pretend activities and reading other stories about immigrants. The classroom can be transformed into a different country in which students will have to learn to communicate and fit into the norms of society without knowing the language or having knowledge of the culture. With upper grades, students can even learn about the U.S. law on immigration and citizenship, and what it means to fight for/against "illegal aliens" (and the significance of this label). This book can be used in subject areas such as ELA, art, social studies (culture, history, law), and social justice education.
For more reviews, uses, and tags for this book, go to:http://www.librarything.com/work/1239313