Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border, written by Mitali Perkins and illustrated by Sara Palacios

Mitali Perkins’ words and Sara Palacios’ illustrations weave together seamlessly to tell the emotional story of a family’s trip to see Abuela during the holiday season. Maria, her little brother, Juan, and their mother travel by bus from San Diego to the U.S-Mexico border. Having not seen Abuela in five years, their experience is fueled with emotions of hope, joy, angst, and frustration. When Juan’s gift for Abuela does not fit through the spaces of the gate, Maria’s creativity and grit help make for a (somewhat)  happy ending.  

This selection can be shared with readers of all ages! Here is what Grade 2-5 students had to say:

  • I wonder if he is going to forget Abuela?
  • Is she in jail?
  • What is that (looking at the fence)?
  • Wait, what is happening? Who are those people who aren’t letting them through to see their family?
  • Why is there a border?
  • Mexico? I thought Mexico was beautiful? They aren’t acting beautiful….
  • Huh? At a real-real beach anybody can go wherever they want. Why would there be a wall? I know! This must be make-believe. This would never happen in real life.

If that last comment does not convey the power of this book, just look at your readers’ faces as you share this text. Their eyes will speak volumes.

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