La Frontera: El Viaje con Papá / My Journey with Papa hardcover picture book

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Based on a true story! Join a young boy and his father on an arduous journey from Mexico to the United States in the 1980s to find a new life. They’ll need all the courage they can muster to safely cross the border—la frontera—and to make a home for themselves in a new land.

Inspired by the childhood immigration experience of co-author Alfredo Alva, this story of perseverance is told in both Spanish and English to empower language-learning. Includes 4 pages of endnotes that unpack facts about Alfredo’s story, and other stories like his, and  borders around the world to help parents and educators talk with children about immigration, resilience, empathy and belonging.

Written by Alfredo Alva

Written by Deborah Mills

Illustrated by Claudia Navarro



  • Product Dimensions: 10.375 x 9.75 inches
  • Hardcover
  • Page Count: 48 pages
  • Age Range: Ages 4-10 years


  • A Junior Library Guild Selection, 2018
  • Featured in The New York Times, 2018
  • A 2018 Foreword Indies Finalist
  • Booklist Top 10 Diverse Books for Youth 2019 Pick
  • Books that Humanize Immigration List, American Association of School Librarians, 2018
  • NECBA Windows & Mirrors Selections, 2018
  • Top 11 Picture Book Biographies of Social Justice Leaders, BookRiot, 2020
  • New Women New Yorkers summer reading list, 2019

★ "So simple, but so beautiful, the story depicts what many must go through when seeking a better life in America" — Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ "An authentic and humanizing perspective on immigration" — Booklist, starred review

"An authentic and humanizing perspective on immigration; a must-have for classrooms, libraries, and bilingual collections" – Mary Margaret Mercado, Pima County Public Library, Tucson, AZ


Written by Alfredo Alva

Alfredo Alva is a stonemason from La Ceja, Mexico. He and his family live in Texas, where he designs architectural details from stone for local architects. He met Deborah Mills while working on a local architecture project, and they worked together to write his story and obtain photos of his family and hometown in Mexico.

Written by Deborah Mills

Deborah Mills is an architect who has lived and traveled all over the world with her family. She divides her time between Texas, USA and the Thousand Islands.

Illustrated by Claudia Navarro

Claudia Navarro studied at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas UNAM in Mexico City, and has illustrated for clients around the world. She lives in Mexico City, Mexico.

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