Telling Our Stories Using Chicano Literature for Children and Young Adults as a Means of Promoting Cultural Awareness and Self-Worth

Rosie A. Arenas, Ed.D.


 My grandmother Josefa Alcaraz was born on a little ranch called La Viga near Puruándiro, Michoacán, México in 1899. After her father died, my grandmother, her four sisters and mother left México to come to the United States. Many people from Michoacán began traveling north to the United States during the revolution in México that began in 1910. They would travel in groups and only during the night, since it was too dangerous to be seen during the day by the troops of men that would travel across the land. During the day, they would rest. They traveled for many, many nights walking over a thousand miles until they got to the border at Juárez, Chihuahua. Even though people could cross the border freely from México into the United States by paying 2¢ to cross the bridge, Josefa and her family went into the river and crossed the Río Grande into El Paso, Texas because they did not have enough money to pay for the entire family. Within a few years, Josefa met Gregorio Arroyo and they were married. (Arenas, 2002, p. 3)

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