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This moving bilingual picture book depicts a young boy’s journey north in hopes of reuniting with his family.

In this poignant bilingual picture book, a boy remembers his first present, “a little train crossing / the mountain of my pillow / over a valley on my bed.” There’s even a girl who looks like his sister waving happily from the window!

      Years later, after his parents have gone far away in search of work and a better future, the boy rides in a real train to join his family. This one is loaded with many children traveling alone, just like him. There are frightening strangers, others along the way who want to jump on and, scariest of all, a boy who almost falls off the roof of the train because he can’t stay awake any longer. When the train finally arrives at its destination, everyone jumps off and the boy begs “the moon to shine, / to light up the border” so he can cross and find his mother.

      This moving, poetic story by award-winning Salvadoran author Mario Bencastro touches on the difficult journey north many Central American children make in hopes of finding their parents and a better life.

      Mario Bencastro is the author of award-winning novels that explore the impact of civil war on the lives of Central American immigrants in the United States and Australia. His books include A Shot in the Cathedral (Arte Público Press, 1996), The Tree of Life: Stories of Civil War (1997), Odyssey to the North (1998), A Promise to Keep (Piñata Books, 2005) and Portable Paradise (2010). La mansión del olvido (The Mansion of Oblivion) was awarded The International Latino Book Award, for Best Historical Fiction Novel in Spanish, USA, 2015.

      Robert Casilla was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, to parents from Puerto Rico. He has illustrated many children’s books, including Pat Mora’s The Remembering Day / El día de los muertos (Piñata Books, 2015) and First Day in Grapes (Lee & Low Books, 2014), which received a Pura Belpré Honor Award.

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