Voces Sin Fronteras

"'Voces sin Fronteras' is a graphic novel-style book of 32 short stories documenting hardships Latinx Immigrants faced in their home countries, as well as in the United States.

Ranging from the loss of family members who leave home for a better life, whether for employment or educational opportunities or to be closer to family members, they are the true stories of people who participated in the Latino Youth Leadership Council, part of the Columbia Heights-base nonprofit organization, the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC).

The bilingual book has English on the left, while the right side of the book is in Spanish. The stories are also split into two sections. First, the stories are told using comic strips with original drawings depicting how each story played out. The comic strips are followed by sections in paragraph form that provide a more in-depth view of how those events made the authors feel. The comic strips are very broad, general and short, while the narrative sections are more in-depth and explain what happened more clearly and coherently.

The stories themselves are great because of their diversity. Going into the book, I thought most of the stories were going to be the same, but they weren’t. Everyone had a different story to tell. In JJ’s story, for example, he talks about how kids made fun of him at school growing up in El Salvador because he wasn’t athletically gifted but was academically gifted. At the end of the story, he says how you should focus on being who you are; not who people want you to be. This story stood out to me because I always struggled in sports and felt pressure by my family and friends to do better even though sports just wasn’t and isn’tto this dayfor me.

When we think and talk about cultures that are different from our own, we often see the differences without seeing what’s similar. When many U.S. residents think of El Salvador, they only think about violence, gangs and drugs.  They don’t ever think about what we have in common with them. This book is extremely diverse and tells the stories of people from all over Latin America, though a majority of the authors are from El Salvador, which makes sense because the D.M.V. area has one of the biggest Salvadoran populations in the United States.

Voces sin Fronteras” talks about the real experiences that people faced in their lives and the hardships they overcame, but at the same time it puts their stories into fun and readable style. These factors lead to my score of the book a perfect 5 out of 5. This book illustrates the levels of adversity people had to overcome. This country is built on people who fight through struggles to be successful and all around happy."

-Emilio Solórzano