Synopsis: It’s 1951, and workers at the Empire Zinc mine in Alba, New Mexico, have been striking for months. Among them is Ana Maria Garcia’s father, who says they may need to sell her vihuela to pay rent. But her vihuela was a gift from her recently deceased mother, and her dream is to be a corridista, a singer of Mexican ballads. As Ana Maria is drawn to the picket line, she is inspired to write a corrido about her mother and the other women of the mining community. An upcoming talent show may be Ana Maria’s chance to earn money for rent and save her vihuela—if she can give voice to the song of her heart.

It’s the storytellers that preserve a nation’s history. But what happens when some stories are silenced? The I Am America series features fictional stories based on important historical events about people whose voices have been underrepresented, lost, or forgotten over time.

Release Date: 1st September 2021

Genres: Middle Grade, Historical, Diversity

Pages: 160

Thank you so much to Jolly Fish Press and Netgalley for the ebook to read and review.

Review: In 1950 a mining town faced heavy injustice on the Mexican American side, within this story a young girl learns all about why and joins in with the protesting and learns the strength of herself.

This was so heavy and hard to read if I’m honestly, I did struggle to read this. Now I didn’t struggle because it was bad or anything like that, actually the opposite. I struggled because it was all too much, and all too real to the world we still live in and the whole story line was so difficult a topic that made it heavy and hard for me to handle.

They were all protesting and I personally always find reading about these things hard as there is always so much anger and fighting and abuse from both sides in situations like this. I totally understand why they were doing it and good for them honestly they needed their voices heard, on way or another.

I loved Ana Maria, she was a really sweet, sensitive, creative little girl that just wanted to bring justice for her mother’s death and fight for a better life for them. That brings me to the character I actually really hated which is her Papa he was horrible, he was cruel for no reason, he had no respect for her as a person, treated her like garbage, dictated what she could and couldn’t do, and was just horrendous I didn’t care for him literally not once. Ana Marie was a thought girl, I don’t know how she dealt with him, I just wanted to help her, her life was not nice and that was so sad.

This story as this stories always are so important no ones voice should be silenced yet this is what was happening, this story everyone in the miners families were being silenced and ignored so they had no choice but to stand up for themselves and to fight against the injustice that they were being given.

It came with great illustrations, lots of facts at the end and you also get to read one of her corridos in English as throughout they are in her native language. I really did overall enjoy this book and it’s such an important topic of history that needs to be read.

About Author: Judy Dodge Cummings has published 21 books for the school and library market, most of them on historical topics. She was a high school history teacher for 26 years and has a MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Teenagers from Hamline University. Judy’s favorite way to research history is through the soles of her feet–meandering through museums, racing up redoubts, and rambling through historic ruins. The number one item on her bucket list is time travel!


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