The Notebook Keeper A Story of Kindness from the Border/La guardiana de la libreta: Una historia de bondad desde la frontera by Stephen Briseño, illustrated by Magdalena Mora

Published by Random House Studio

Summary:  Home is different now for Noemí.  Her papá is gone, and the streets are unsafe.  Her mamá tells her they have to go on a long journey.  After many days, joined by many others, they reach the border, but they’re not allowed to cross.  The man there says they have to find the notebook keeper so she can enter their names.  That’s how they meet Belinda, a kind woman who keeps track of everyone in camp, so they know when their number has been called to go across the border.  Weeks go by, and Noemí struggles with the wait and the living conditions, but she tries to be kind to the younger kids.  Then Belinda’s number is called, and it’s time to find a new notebook keeper.  She chooses “someone with generosity in their heart and kindness in their soul”: Noemí and her mamá.  Includes an author’s note, a photo of a real notebook keeper, and a list of sources.  40 pages; grades K-3.

Pros:  A simple but powerful story of the difficulties of being a refugee and the importance of kindness in even the most trying times.  The beautiful illustrations help tell the story.

Cons:  It would have added some authenticity to have more Spanish words in the English version of the story.

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