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The book under consideration is Mexican Immigrants in America: An Interactive History Adventure (Hanel, 2009). It was written by Rachel Hanel, an American writer. It is an interactive nonfiction book base on the stories of real people. The author applied this adventure approach to attract the attention of readers. First published in 2008, it describes the events from the beginning of the 20th century when many Mexican people came to the United States after the Mexican revolution for shelter to the first decade of the 21st century and its legislation that attempted to provide legal status for young immigrants.
Book Organization and Author’s Subarguments
The major issue of the book is to demonstrate real-life situations that happened to real people. However, it is not historical writing. It is an adventure book where a reader can select his or her ending. The book consists of five chapters. After the first chapter, there is a choice where to go, and the outcome is different in every case. Moreover, the writer provides a timeline to clear up the events of the century when Mexican people actively immigrated, legally or illegally, to the United States.
Also, the page about further readings and Internet links to extended information can be useful to the readers who want to study the subject more carefully. One of the main points expressed by an author is the role of the United Farm Workers Association in the support of immigrant workers. The problem of Mexican immigrants is not broadly represented in literature. Another work dedicated to the issue of being immigrants and adapting to new life conditions is Remaining the immigrant. The accommodation of Mexican immigrants in rural America by Haley (2009). The author presents the results of his research that proved the diversity of possible outcomes for immigrants.
Strengths and Weakness of the Book
To assess strengths or reveal weaknesses, it is worth considering the target audience of the book. Mexican Immigrants in America are reading for adolescents. In this case, its structure is a strength and an important advantage. Frequently, teenagers do not read eagerly, but the format of adventure and an opportunity to select the development of the story and its outcome is likely to keep them interested. Another advantage of the book is the use of simple language that is not typical of books on history. It contributes to the unique character of the book and supports its value.
Finally, the strength of the book is in the events it describes. Few writings are dedicated to the issue of the Mexicans working in the United States and even less to the efforts to improve immigrant labor laws. The first movements to stimulate immigrant-friendly laws were made by Cesar Chavez who struggled for the development of new labor laws for immigrants from Mexico on the farmland of California. One of his initiatives was the establishment of the United Farm Workers Association known as UFW (Hanel, 2009). The immigrants who came to work received better salaries after signing contracts between UFW and the growers who hired them.
The book touches the issue of immigration reform that is “a hot topic” both among politicians and American citizens (Hanel, 2009, p. 102). It causes many arguments concerning the necessity to open the border or keep it closed and protected. On the whole, the work by Hanel provides an overview of the Mexican labor immigration history from its beginning through the decades when workers gained more rights and better payment, to the present, when the question of labor immigration is still open.
Generally speaking, the book can be a suitable reading not only for teenagers but for everyone interested in the topic. It is a good resource to study the history of Mexican immigration to the United States. The book is a unique demonstration of the importance of choice. Its characters made the choices to leave Mexico or stay, to join UFW and fight for their rights, or never go to strikes and be satisfied with what they had. The massage is that every choice predetermines the outcome and has to be made carefully.
Haley, B.D. (2009). Remaining the immigrant. The accommodation of Mexican immigrants in rural America. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hanel, R. (2009). Mexican immigrants in America: An interactive history adventure. Mankato, MS: Capstone Press.