Weekend Pick for September 2nd, 2022
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This month we want to welcome Dr. Alice Hays as our guest contributor. Thank you Dr. Hays for all you do to research, teach, and promote the power of Young Adult Literature!
Dr. Hays is an Assistant Professor of Education at California State University, Bakersfield. Her work focuses on the ways in which Young Adult Literature can promote prosocial behavior and activism.
Within two pages, I was hooked.
Milagros Vargas (Millie) is an amazing scholar who has managed to not only get accepted to Stanford, but also tuition, room and board covered. (I almost felt guilty typing that she was accepted to Stanford, because she hasn’t told her mom yet-and I don’t want to blow her cover!). See, Milagros is also responsible for helping to raise her siblings while her widowed mom works to raise a wealthy family’s children. Milagros’ sense of responsibility is making it difficult for her to consider leaving her hometown of Corpus Christie.
What makes this book particularly interesting is how she grapples with this unwanted attention. Not all heroes want to be heroes, and Millie has been thrust into a position she isn’t sure she can handle, much less does she want it. To add fuel to the fire, she is now having to work in close proximity with Charlie Wheeler, the son of Mr. Wheeler, who is super cute and full of chivalry-and he doesn’t see the problem with pushing Millie into the hero role. Her relationship with Charlie also explores issues of classism, and the ways that some people have more freedom to follow a moral high ground than others.
While the book definitely hits some hard-hitting topics, it left me with a sense of hope and a renewed sense of urgency around allyship. The way that Mickelson explains the U.S.’s role in Guatemalan instability also provides rationale for why people would make the risky trek to the United States. While it was a fairly quick and easy read, it will definitely have me continuing to think about who we call heroes and whose job it really is to make change in our immigration policy.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!