Solito by Javier Zamora
Hi, I am Sarah. I am fourteen years old and an avid reader; it is one of my favorite things to do. Inspired by authors’ creations of magnificent places and surprising havens built by simple letters, I aspire to be an author and, meanwhile, nurture the love to write.
What were you doing when you were nine? I was a happy fourth grader, playing games with my friends after school, and reading books about characters who had wild adventures. Every night, I came home to my parents. Javier Zamora, on the other hand, was on his own “wild adventure.” A three-thousand-mile journey, from his home in El Salvador to his parents, whom he hadn’t seen in years, off in the U.S. And he was doing it alone.
When Javier embarked on this trip, April 1999, he could only think about what it would be like to see his parents after so long of only hearing their voices through the phone. He had no idea of the challenges that stood before him and the U.S. border; that the simple line on the map would stretch into a trip of terrifying desert treks, boat trips, and dangerous, gun-filled bus rides. He didn’t know the two weeks he expected would turn into two months, and that the migrants he traveled with in order to see his family again to become his makeshift family and surround him with love.
Solito is a testament to strength: the strength to leave home for a hopeful other, the strength to face border patrol and harsh deportation and the unforgiving immigration policies of America. Most of all, it celebrates the strength of hope and the power to keep it—even when you’re nine years old, on an impossible journey.