Alda P. Dobbs
Alda P. Dobbs is the author of Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna and The Other Side of the River. Her debut novel received a Pura Belpre Honor and is a Texas Bluebonnet Master List selection. Dobbs studied physics and worked as an engineer before pursuing her love of storytelling. She’s as passionate about connecting children to their past, their communities, different cultures, and nature as she is about writing.
9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.
State Library, Second Floor Meeting Room
Through It All: Perseverance in Middle Grade Literature
with Alda P. Dobbs and Sarah Guillory
10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
Cavalier House Bookselling Tent
The Other Side of the River
From the award-winning author of Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna, Alda P. Dobbs, comes a compelling new novel about building a new life in America. Strong and determined, Petra Luna returns in a story about the immigrant experience that continues to be relevant today.
Petra Luna is in America, having escaped the Mexican Revolution and the terror of the Federales. Now that they are safe, Petra and her family can begin again, in this country that promises so much. Still, twelve-year-old Petra knows that her abuelita, little sister, and baby brother depend on her to survive. She leads her family from a smallpox-stricken refugee camp on the Texas border to the buzzing city of San Antonio, where they work hard to build a new life. And for the first time ever, Petra has a chance to learn to read and write.
Yet Petra also sees in America attitudes she thought she'd left behind on the other side of the Río Grande―people who look down on her mestizo skin and bare feet, who think someone like her doesn't deserve more from life. Petra wants more. Isn't that what the revolution is about? Her strength and courage will be tested like never before as she fights for herself, her family, and her dreams.
Petra's first story, Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna, was a New York Public Library Book of the Year and a Texas Bluebonnet Master List Selection.
Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna
Based on a true story, the tale of one girl's perilous journey to cross the U.S. border and lead her family to safety during the Mexican Revolution.
"Wrenching debut about family, loss, and finding the strength to carry on."―Booklist, starred review
"Blazes bright, gripping readers until the novel's last page."―Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Vital and perilous and hopeful."―Alan Gratz, New York Times bestselling author of Refugee
It is 1913, and twelve-year-old Petra Luna's mama has died while the Revolution rages in Mexico. Before her papa is dragged away by soldiers, Petra vows to him that she will care for the family she has left―her abuelita, little sister Amelia, and baby brother Luisito―until they can be reunited. They flee north through the unforgiving desert as their town burns, searching for safe harbor in a world that offers none.
Each night when Petra closes her eyes, she holds her dreams close, especially her long-held desire to learn to read. Abuelita calls these barefoot dreams: "They're like us barefoot peasants and indios―they're not meant to go far." But Petra refuses to listen. Through battlefields and deserts, hunger and fear, Petra will stop at nothing to keep her family safe and lead them to a better life across the U.S. border―a life where her barefoot dreams could finally become reality.
"Dobbs' wrenching debut, about family, loss, and finding the strength to carry on, illuminates the harsh realities of war, the heartbreaking disparities between the poor and the rich, and the racism faced by Petra and her family. Readers will love Petra, who is as strong as the black-coal rock she carries with her and as beautiful as the diamond hidden within it."―Booklist, starred review
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