“Donde Esta Papi” is a social justice children’s book based on the true story of a child whose father was taken into immigration custody. Written from the perspective of an eight-year-old girl, the book tries to make visible the often-neglected impact of immigration enforcement on children. An estimated 5.9 million U.S. citizen children under the age of 18 live with at least one undocumented parent (analyzing 2009-2013 U.S. Census Data) and roughly half-a-million U.S. citizen children experienced the apprehension, detention, and deportation of at least one parent in the course of about two years (according to data from Immigration and Customs Enforcement from 2011-2013 as reported by the American Immigration Council). Many impacted children find themselves questioning their identity, sense of safety, agency, and belonging. This experience of straddling geographical and cultural borders is the impetus for writing this book; to create a story that resonates with the lived reality of immigrant children and offer words of encouragement and hope. Many of the quotes attributed to the main character are actual quotes from young children living in Arizona (who were interviewed about their views and perspectives on school, home, and community). Click the link below to purchase a hardcover copy of the book!
“Donde Esta Papi?” presents a glimpse of the beauty, strength, and resilience of migrant families. The US/Mexico border is a highly politicized geographical space in which the violation of human rights is rampant. Government sanctioned violence and rhetoric extends beyond the border; separating families, disrupting childhoods, and creating a culture of legitimized racism and xenophobia.
Written from the perspective of an eight-year-old girl, the book makes visible the often-neglected impact of immigration enforcement on children. Amidst this uncertain terrain, Akemi’s story is the true story of a child in Arizona; one of many, reminding us that we cannot lose faith and must continue to fight back.
This book is an essential read for anyone who cares about human and children’s rights. It hopes to speak directly to children; to instill a sense of pride and hope for their future.
Migration is a fundamental human right. This book is an invitation for anyone who cares about children's rights to become an advocate for immigration reform. Children have a right to safety and protection and should have a say on issues that impact their daily lives. Our current laws are a direct affront to this basic human right.
Immigration laws and policies not only criminalize and separate families but also incite a culture of nativism and xenophobia. Enforcement agencies racially profile, aggressively detain, incarcerate, and deport immigrant families; inciting fear in entire communities and disrupting countless childhoods.
We need not wait for our laws to change. We all have the power to support immigrant children and their families today.
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