It's Monday! What are you reading? was started by Sheila at Book Journey and was adapted for children's books from picture books through YA by Jen of Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee of Unleashing Readers. You can visit either site for a round up of blogs sharing their weekly readings and thoughts or search Twitter for #IMWAYR.
Return to Sender (2009) by Julia Alvarez [a Pura Belpré winner]. This story about illegal immigration and undocumented workers is told in two points of view: a present-tense narrative from the perspective of Tyler, whose father's injury creates a need for help on the farm, and letters written by Mari, the oldest of three sisters whose father and uncle are undocumented and hired by Tyler's father.
I think this is an important story to tell, as it brings to light many of the issues and struggles of immigrant families, but I wish it had been done a little better. The present tense of Tyler's sections drove me absolutely batty! The letter-writing style also didn't really work for me, and I thought a narrator could have gotten inside Mari's head just as well. Some issues also seemed to be solved too quickly and predictably (oh, old immigrant-hating neighbor! One chapter later, staunch defender).
Island Treasures: growing up in Cuba (2015) by Alma Flor Ada. This collection of several smaller memoir anthologies brings them all together in one book. Alma Flor Ada relates tiny stories of her childhood in Cuba with a focus on storytelling and the connections between families and history. Each short memoir also includes photographs. This could be a great mentor text for writing memoirs and using photos for inspiration (perhaps paired with Lois Lowry's Looking Back).