Voces Sin Fronteras

Gr 7 Up–Sixteen Latinx teens who emigrated from Mexico and Central America tell their stories in this bilingual volume, the result of a collaboration between nonprofit press Shout Mouse and the Latin American Youth Center in Washington, DC. While the artwork is at times unpolished, the comics will reverberate with readers. Following each piece is a reflection by its contributor. This powerful compendium amplifies teens' understanding of the young immigrant experience—facing fears, overcoming sadness and the temptation to give up, learning a new language, and being left by parents who migrated first, then forgiving and reuniting with them decades later. Contributors share the wisdom gained from shaping their identity through storytelling. Tato fled violence in Honduras and crafts his own vision of the American dream: to become someone who has a positive impact on others. Alejandro concludes, "You never fasil, you only gain experience." Insightful quotes in the essays are highlighted in large typeface: "The mind is treacherous, just because it tells us we can not, does not mean it is true."

VERDICT Spotlighting underrepresented voices, this work is highly recommended for all communities in their efforts to promote empathetic, inclusive discussions around immigration.

Sara Lissa Paulson, School Library Journal

Voces Sin Fronteras

As Spanish teachers, we work to introduce our students to the cultures and realities of Spanish-speaking countries, including the United States. Immigration stories are an important part of that experience, and there is no better way to share it with students than Voces Sin Fronteras: Our Stories, Our Truth.

Immigration is not an easy topic to tackle with students. Regardless of your background, it is difficult to represent the experiences of others. It is especially hard to give students an understanding of the complex issues involved in immigration.

The best answer is for individuals to tell their own stories, and for teachers to add additional context. In Voces Sin Fronteras, sixteen young people share their stories of immigration in comics. In my opinion, this side-by-side bilingual collection of graphic memoirs belongs in every Spanish and English class in the country.

Voces Sin Fronteras is published by the non-profit Shout Mouse Press. Learn more about the organization and purchase Voces Sin Fronteras: Our Stories, Our Truth on the Shout Mouse Press website.

Spanish Playground

Voces Sin Fronteras

I read Voces Sin Fronteras and it makes me think how we here in America take for granted the little things in life like going to school and being able to be a child and not have to worry about working to help the family and how we are safer here than anywhere in the world and then we have our president here sending troops to the Mexico border to stop people that are not trying to come in illegally but walk into the border crossing and asking for asylum the legal way. It hits home for me because my daughter lives in Mexico with her mom because I'm locked up. She is a United States citizen but has to stay there till I'm out. The book is over the top and I commend the kids that wrote it.

Eugene H., Free Minds member

Voces Sin Fronteras

Though immigration is a hotly discussed topic, it’s not often that we hear from the perspective of young immigrants. Fortunately, the Latin American Youth Center of D.C. (LAYC) and Shout Mouse Press have partnered to publish "Voces Sin Fronteras: Our Stories, Our Truth (link is external)," a collection of young immigrants’ stories.

Voces Sin Fronteras is a graphic novel, written by 16 teenage co-authors who have separately immigrated to the United States. Each author contributed a section of the book to tell the story of their own journey.

The University of Maryland Latin American Studies Center (link is external) (LASC) recently hosted three of the co-authors for a panel discussion as part of the university’s Year of Immigration (link is external). At the event, the teenagers shared their biggest influences, challenges, and experiences writing and drawing for the book.

The authors explained that they want to raise awareness about the realities of being a young immigrant, and shared a few of the lessons they have learned from their own experiences.

“I have changed a lot since I’ve been in this country. I’m stronger now,” Rosa, the author of a chapter titled Mariposa Negra, told the audience. “I have been very determined and persevered. If this door closes, you have to go to another and keep knocking … because a door is going to open.”

Isabella Nery, University of Maryland

Khalil's Swagtown Adventure

“Combining reality with fantasy (loved the purple broccoli trees!), this book takes on a tough real-life situation that many children find themselves in --- upset by parents arguing. It acknowledges a child's feelings while encouraging a child to talk to parents about those feelings. The story also acknowledges that many adults find themselves under stress, such as unemployment, which can contribute to parental figures having arguments over simple things. Most importantly though, the book offers hope that a child may have the power to enact change in the family dynamic. Written by 3 high-school age teens, I got the sense that at least one of the authors has witnessed the positive impact he/she has had in their own family relationships when he/she encouraged the family to do more things together as a family group.”


The Blue Spark

“This is a thoughtful, illustrated book about children who can see the good in others and help them change. Max starts the story by saying "Being bad never felt so good. Evil runs in my family." His counterpart Ronnie believes "Goodness is in all of us. My family stands for justice." After wonderfully illustrated interactions between the two, Max is able to see the goodness in himself. The book is clearly written and offers a positive message about looking below the surface to see the potential in others. I collect graphic novels and went a little out of my zone for this, but I loved it. I think it would be a great book for pre-teens and teenagers.”


A to Z: The Real DC

“I've read many A to Z picture books in my days, but what makes this one special is not only its photographs of D.C. landmarks, but also the creativity of the photographs. My favorite is "F" is for Frederick Douglas. Not only do the pages show pictures of the Frederick Douglas Historic Site, but a photo of what I presume is one of the book's authors "shaking hands" with the statue of Frederick Douglas. It's these sorts of shots that delight children and adults alike. The book's illustrations and verses also call out for the reader to discover D.C. destinations that have yet to be explored and to start planning on re-visiting more familiar ones. On some of the pages I can almost taste the food, hear the sounds of traffic, and smell the scents of animals and plants. The fact that this book was created by D.C. teens is just icing on the cake.” - Bookfan

The Day Tajon Got Shot

“This book is important, and not just because of the topic. Books like The Hate U Give, All American Boys, How It Went Down, etc. are all valuable, and if you have the time and inclination I recommend reading all of them. Before you do, though, I suggest you get your hands on a copy of this book--legit, ask me, I will lend you mine.

Why should this be number one on your to read list? First things first, because it was written by a group of teenage girls. If that knowledge doesn't hit you like a punch in the gut with every word you read, then you just might be missing a heart. Think about what they must be going through to be able to produce something like this. These girls worked together to examine all sides of the epidemic of police violence toward black people in a thoughtful, emotional, and powerful way, and I was blown away with every page. As if that's not enough, they brought each character to life, and I caught myself holding my breath multiple times as I read. Finally, the artwork incorporated into the story added even more depth. This book is a work of art. And page 151, man...I don't think I've ever reacted so strongly to a book before.

Final reason to read this? Jason freaking Reynolds tweeted that people needed to read it. Jason Reynolds, guys. If you don't want to take my word for it, take his. I promise you, he's right.” - Amazon Customer

DC Book Set

“I wanted to thank your wonderful organization for inspiring young people. I purchased  Finding Mumbo, A to Z the real dc, Adventures in Ana Park for my fifth graders in our Afterschool program it was a part of a book writing introduction to the students. They enjoyed reading the books something that they could relate too. Places and things that they see everyday it was a pleasure and an educational fun experience. May the authors continue to write great books and know that what they are doing is an awesome way to reach their peers.” - T Jackson ASP Coordinator, Wheatley Educational Campus

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).

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Voces Sin Fronteras

"Issues about immigration and its impact on families have been prominent in the current US political scene, with a gross amount of injustice and racism cast toward many people seeking asylum. This book is an excellent entry into this political conversation, with sixteen true accounts from the lives of young people who have come over from Latin American countries to live and find a better life in the United States. These adolescents are the Latino Youth Leadership Council of the Washington DC-based Latin American Youth Center, founded in 1968.”

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Our Lives Matter

See! This book right here demonstrates how a movement should be constructed. Instead of focusing on the negative people within a community who often times get the publicity for their actions, it's best to demonstrate to others, especially minorities and those of low economic status, that there are individuals out there who are trying their best to change their outcome. Our lives matter showed me, a fellow African, that there are kids in inner cities who are going against the status quo of doing or selling drugs, getting pregnant or just not caring about life. It was refreshing and sad to see that some of these teens had to grow up quickly because of their parents and their situations.

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