Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna by Alda P. Dobbs

Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna by Alda P. Dobbs. Sourcebooks, 2021. 9781728234656

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or starred review) 5

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Historical fiction

What did you like about the book? Petra and her small family, her abuelita, her little sister, Amelia, and her baby brother Luisito are traveling through Mexico seeking peace and freedom from the revolution of 1913. She promised her father she would care for the family before he was taken away by soldiers; her mother died giving birth to her younger brother. Petra is only twelve, but she is resourceful, smart, and hardworking. She has dreams, too. Petra dreams of learning to read and write despite the fact that no one in her family ever has learned to do so before. Her abuelita calls these “barefoot dreams…not meant to go far” and impossible to achieve. On their journey, Petra and her family will face great danger, hunger, and racism. Soon her family decides their only choice is to attempt to cross the border to the United States, but it will take all that they have financially, emotionally, and physically to complete the journey. 

The story is inspired by the author’s own great-grandmother’s journey to the United States. With intense pacing, a timely storyline, and characters that come alive, this book is an absolute treasure. The side story of Petra breaking free from familial and cultural expectations is well done.

Anything you did not like about the book? Nope. I think it’s amazing.

To whom would you recommend this book? Students who like historical fiction or stories about immigration.

Who should buy this book? All middle and elementary school libraries.

Where would you shelve it? Historical fiction

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA

Date of review: February 16, 2021

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