Undocumented: A Worker's Fight

1 CD. 18 min. Dreamscape Audio. Oct. 2018. ISBN 9781974919796. $14.99.
Gr 2–5—After crossing the border from Mexico into the United States, Juan finds work as a busboy, soon learning from a Chinese coworker that they are being paid barely half of the minimum wage. Encouraged by an organizer at a nearby workers' center, Juan convinces the other restaurant employees to band together and file a legal complaint against their boss. While this is the story of one particular immigrant worker, it represents the conditions many undocumented and low-wage earners experience as they struggle to survive in the United States. This audio version is boldly read by Tim Andrés Pabon. The storytelling is subtly supported by a quiet soundtrack and occasional sound effects, such as a baby crying, wind blowing, a car engine purring. Be sure to combine the recording with the print book. It reads and looks like a graphic novel, geared toward an older youth audience. The recording and the printed book do not always mesh. In one case, Pabon reads "supermarket" rather than "supermarketa," and the second track's page turn signals ding when reading across a two-page spread. This inattention to detail in production negatively impacts the integrity of the storytelling.
VERDICT The important story and message of Tonatiuh's book is lifted up by an excellent narration, but undermined by minor production errors.

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