Two Worlds

Author: Barron, Marietta

Subjects: Prejudice; Segregation; Mexican-Americans; Multiculturalism; Growing Up

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6

Order code: 120X

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 120XS

Two Worlds Cover

In the 1920s, America was caught in the winds of full-blown segregation. Two Worlds is the story of a pre-teen Mexican-American boy who challenged the system of school segregation in the mining town where he and his family lived. The story is simply told. It is one of courage, motivation, and self-esteem. The contrasts between the Latino barrio and the white section of town are dramatic and are related with the realism of a young person's viewpoint.

The setting is the barrio. Many people are squeezed together in a tin-shack town where there is work, often dangerous, for a Mexican who is willing to earn wages drastically lower than those of a white person doing the same job. Over the noise of the children and the sounds of the mine machinery, shadows of the Mexican Revolution linger over the heads of families that have relocated to seek peace and a chance to better their lives.

There are no limits to what white bigots will do when a young, intelligent Mexican boy decides, without any legal authority, to take himself into the whites-only school simply because he wants to learn. To eleven-year-old José, the school seems much better equipped than his, even from his youthful vantage-point of evaluating the playground. He decides to remain a quiet figure, to try to blend in because he is an American citizen, to be there just for an education. But José's intelligence works against him, for when he wins the class spelling bee, his cover is blown, and the prejudice of his teacher enflames passions in the town.

José's white classmates' reactions to his presence offer insights into the thoughts and parental influences of children. Ultimately, there is a voice of reason and a happy ending, but not before José runs away from home, experiences life outside of the barrio on his own, and finds himself. He returns home wiser and positive in his outlook. He goes on to win the district spelling bee, and by his example, he opens the town.

In the 1920s, America was caught in the winds of full-blown segregation. Two Worlds is the story of a pre-teen Mexican-American boy who challenged the system of school segregation in the mining town where he and his family lived. The story is simply told. It is one of courage, motivation, and self-esteem. The contrasts between the Latino barrio and the white section of town are dramatic and are related with the realism of a young person's viewpoint.

The setting is the barrio. Many people are squeezed together in a tin-shack town where there is work, often dangerous, for a Mexican who is willing to earn wages drastically lower than those of a white person doing the same job. Over the noise of the children and the sounds of the mine machinery, shadows of the Mexican Revolution linger over the heads of families that have relocated to seek peace and a chance to better their lives.

There are no limits to what white bigots will do when a young, intelligent Mexican boy decides, without any legal authority, to take himself into the whites-only school simply because he wants to learn. To eleven-year-old José, the school seems much better equipped than his, even from his youthful vantage-point of evaluating the playground. He decides to remain a quiet figure, to try to blend in because he is an American citizen, to be there just for an education. But José's intelligence works against him, for when he wins the class spelling bee, his cover is blown, and the prejudice of his teacher enflames passions in the town.

José's white classmates' reactions to his presence offer insights into the thoughts and parental influences of children. Ultimately, there is a voice of reason and a happy ending, but not before José runs away from home, experiences life outside of the barrio on his own, and finds himself. He returns home wiser and positive in his outlook. He goes on to win the district spelling bee, and by his example, he opens the town.

Two Worlds Cover

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