September/October 2021 Kids Indie Next List
“With vibrant illustrations and a message on using your privilege to advocate for and take care of those without the same privilege, this overwhelmingly sweet story is meant to ignite further discussion.”
— Claire Phelan, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA
A picture book debut by an award-winning author about a boy's life on the U.S.-Mexico border, visiting his favorite places on The Other Side with his father, spending time with family and friends, and sharing in the responsibility of community care.
Early one Saturday morning, a boy prepares for a trip to The Other Side/El Otro Lado. It's close--just down the street from his school--and it's a twin of where he lives. To get there, his father drives their truck along the Rio Grande and over a bridge, where they're greeted by a giant statue of an eagle. Their outings always include a meal at their favorite restaurant, a visit with Tío Mateo at his jewelry store, a cold treat from the paletero, and a pharmacy pickup. On their final and most important stop, they check in with friends seeking asylum and drop off much-needed supplies.
My Two Border Towns by David Bowles, with stunning watercolor illustrations by Erika Meza, is the loving story of a father and son's weekend ritual, a demonstration of community care, and a tribute to the fluidity, complexity, and vibrancy of life on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Available in English and Spanish.
About the Author
David Bowles grew up in the Río Grande Valley of South Texas. As a kid, he would regularly cross the border with his father to visit family, buy historietas, and watch movies. It's a tradition he continued with his own children, making sure they became part of the transnational community he loves so much. David has written many books that center Mexican Americans in the borderlands, including the award-winning They Call Me Güero and the 13th Street series. My Two Border Towns, available in English and Spanish, is his debut picture book.
Erika Meza was born in Mexico, fell in love with animation on the border with California, and developed a taste for éclairs in Paris before moving to the U.K. An adoptive Tijuanense, she took her first steps to find her visual voice at the border--forever fueled by tacos de birria. When Erika isn't drawing, you'll find her drinking coffee, tweeting, or plotting ways to bring her cat traveling with her.
★ "Characters’ friendly greetings, the vibrant illustrations, and the thoughtful actions of this father and son come together to create a feeling of warmth and hope, while also bringing to the forefront the plight of so many like Élder and his family. An excellent addition to Spanish picture-book collections."
—Booklist, starred review
★ "Bowle’s picture-book debut weaves weightier realities into a story of ordinary border town life, and does so with a gentle hand."
—The Horn Book, starred review
★ "Meza (Balloons for Papa) pours artistry into mixed-media images of the towns, which mirror each other across the river… the father and son look forward—with warmth and care—to a 'wonderful day,' when passage between the border towns isn’t limited."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "Beautiful, honest, complex."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review