Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sometimes by Hugo Ibarra & John Seidlitz

"Sometimes" is a story about immigration in today's culture written by Texas elementary teacher, Hugo Ibarra and ELL educator John Seidlitz. The account of this story is written from first-hand experiences from students, parents as well as Ibarra's immigration story.

Andreas and Clara are living in Mexico with their mother while their father is sending money each week until the money stops. Tia, their aunt, arrives from Texas with a promise to return them home but leaves their mother behind. She brings them to the United States where they experience border patrol, school, culture emersion, shock and feeling of despair as they miss their mother. Life improves as their teacher begins to help them with English and their way of life progress' until their mother moves to the United States.  

This book has beautiful colorful images and simple text for any reader to understand. In my experience as a school social worker who has worked with families experience deportation and immigration, this is a very clear picture of what happens to families going through these difficult circumstances. 
However, this book glosses over the struggles that many of the children face with their feelings towards parents, school, and everyday life. Often, they feel complete alienation and this book painted a picture that everything turned out okay, but that is not the experience I have had with many of my students. They feel like outsiders, and it may take them years to feel acquainted with school life. Additionally, this book left out many answers like what happened to the father, why did he disappear? Also, why did their mother have to stay back before she was able to get into the United States? More questions need to be answered.  While this book is unique, it needs more improvements, and I think it would be a great resource for any classroom, social worker or agency working with families/ youth dealing with families who are transitioning through the process of immigration. 

This book was provided by PRbytheBook for an honest review. I was not compensated for a positive review. 

1 comment:

Hugo Ibarra said...

Thank you for reading "Sometimes..." and sharing your comments with other readers.

The unanswered questions that become evident throughout the book were heavily considered as the story developed. Although there are underlying issues in the plot that relate to controversial events such as immigration, one of the reasons behind the writing of this book was to provide children from a variety of backgrounds with an opportunity to voice their experiences, questions, and ideals with each other, within the framework of a pluralistic, democratic society.

There are several perspectives from which to approach and analyze the story. However, a significant variable that I believe impacted the unfolding of the events in this plot relates to the daily reality of hundreds (or thousands) of children facing similar situations where the common thread is uncertainty, irrespective of their immigration status. Fortunately, the United States has demonstrated time after time that the characters like Mr. Trevor, the teacher in our story, do exist and are making a difference in the life of children every day.

Again, thank you for your comments.