When we drove from Arizona towards the Mexican border this past November we saw quite a few white and green U.S. Immigration vehicles. For a while we even had a view of the fencing that separates the two countries. At the time we discussed these new sights with the kids. They were curious as to why we didn’t see these same things when we crossed between the United States and Canada. It was hot in the car and we were all tired but we tried to give a brief overview of current immigration issues that the kids would understand.
However, we really didn’t do the subject justice and we wanted to spend some more time as a family talking about the existence of the border fence, the border guards, and the immigration policies. Searching for great educational tools to help spur our discussion we came across the truly amazing book Crossing the Wire by Will Hobbs. We weren’t sure how the kids would take to this book about a young man from Mexico who tries to illegally cross into the United States. However, we began to read it aloud as a family and by the end of the first chapter we were all hooked.
As an author Will Hobbs does a remarkable job of exploring the complex immigration issues that we wanted the kids to try and understand. Through the main character, Victor Flores, you get a personal view of the whys and hows of an illegal crossing that are seldom covered in the media. Besides being an eye opening read, it was also a super exciting book. The kids were often at the edge of their seats begging for just one more chapter to find out what would happen next.
While reading Crossing the Wire Five of Hearts kept a list of all the places that the main character traveled. When we finished reading the book we helped her create a Google Map tracing Victor’s entire journey. You can view Five of Heart’s map here (Note: It does contain spoilers). We honestly cannot say enough great things about Crossing the Wire. While it is not an exclusive resource for learning about the complex issue of U.S./Mexican immigration, it is a wonderful book for starting the conversation about illegal border crossings. It explores a very important perspective in the immigration debate and emphasizes the saying “Don’t judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins”.