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Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna

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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 f 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.


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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 f 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.

30 review for Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna

  1. 5 out of 5

    Reading_ Tamishly

    Absolutely heartbreaking yet quite the beautiful ray of sunshine! Not all stories about war and refugees show the emotions involved in the writing as this one. The story is gripping, the writing really good and fast-paced for such a sad grim story. The plot is quite dark as it handles different issues of war, gun violence, grief, poverty and hunger, loss and abuse. There are times where you feel quite helpless that you would want to stop reading the book. But then again the writing is really good Absolutely heartbreaking yet quite the beautiful ray of sunshine! Not all stories about war and refugees show the emotions involved in the writing as this one. The story is gripping, the writing really good and fast-paced for such a sad grim story. The plot is quite dark as it handles different issues of war, gun violence, grief, poverty and hunger, loss and abuse. There are times where you feel quite helpless that you would want to stop reading the book. But then again the writing is really good with amazing character introductions at different parts, you would want to know how our main protagonist fare in the end. I totally admire Petra. How I wish we are as strong as her when we see no hope. I felt really bad about the difficult situations she was in. But what I felt the most connected with this book was when Petra got really frustrated being unable to read even the basic words like train or bus. I hope every child and every person gets the chance to be literate. And it's high time women stop discriminating women, specially adult women trying to enforce wrong ideas on how a girl should grow up as confined to the kitchen. 💟 It delivered more than what I had anticipated.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    Petra's name means rock. Before her father went off to fight in the revolution he gave Petra a special rock to remember him by -- her own baby diamond. In his absence Petra (only 12 years old) has promised to look after her Abuelita, her little sister Amelia and baby brother Luisito. After the Federales burn and pillage their village, the family takes flight. Where can they go? Time after time they find a refuge and tragedy strikes once again. Petra has her heart set on crossing in to the United Petra's name means rock. Before her father went off to fight in the revolution he gave Petra a special rock to remember him by -- her own baby diamond. In his absence Petra (only 12 years old) has promised to look after her Abuelita, her little sister Amelia and baby brother Luisito. After the Federales burn and pillage their village, the family takes flight. Where can they go? Time after time they find a refuge and tragedy strikes once again. Petra has her heart set on crossing in to the United States. Will they all survive the trip? There are some moments of extreme peril, but the family is not without hope. Inspired by the life of the author's great-grandmother, this book is a reminder of the way hardships and challenges can dig in and chisel us like a diamond into a new and more resilient individual. Thank you to Sourcebooks and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kathie

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC of this book. Set in 1913 in northern Mexico during the Revolutionary War, Petra and her family flee their small town when the Federales arrive and destroy everything in their path. Desperate to find a safe place and protect her family, Petra leads them north toward the Mexico/US border with the hope of escaping into a country where there is hope for a brighter future. Petra’s resilience through harsh desert conditions, violence, and destructio Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC of this book. Set in 1913 in northern Mexico during the Revolutionary War, Petra and her family flee their small town when the Federales arrive and destroy everything in their path. Desperate to find a safe place and protect her family, Petra leads them north toward the Mexico/US border with the hope of escaping into a country where there is hope for a brighter future. Petra’s resilience through harsh desert conditions, violence, and destruction proves that hope is a powerful force against the injustices of war. The story is based on the real-life experiences of the author’s great-grandmother, and it’s an important piece of history to know. Young readers will get a better understanding of why many families escaped from Mexico to the United States, and it sheds some perspective on the issues that continue today. Petra has so much responsibility placed on her, and yet she continues to meet each challenge with bravery and hope for the future. She inspired me with her desire to learn to read and her loyalty to her family when she wanted to join the Revolutionarios and fight to save her country. I would recommend this book for upper middle grade readers who enjoy reading historical fiction and stories about young people who face the challenge of war.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    "Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna" by Alda P. Dobbs is the riveting and poignant story of twelve-year-old Petra, her baby brother, and her grandmother as they flee for their lives during the Mexican Revolution. Her mother dead, her village burned, and her father conscripted by the Federales, Petra and her family have no choice but to escape the violence by going north through the desert, perhaps all the way across the Rio Bravo and into the United States. This story is based on the real experiences "Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna" by Alda P. Dobbs is the riveting and poignant story of twelve-year-old Petra, her baby brother, and her grandmother as they flee for their lives during the Mexican Revolution. Her mother dead, her village burned, and her father conscripted by the Federales, Petra and her family have no choice but to escape the violence by going north through the desert, perhaps all the way across the Rio Bravo and into the United States. This story is based on the real experiences of the author's great-grandmother, making it even more absorbing. I found myself laughing and crying along with Petra, who dreams of someday going to school and learning to read. Her dreams of an education for herself and safety for her family are so easily taken for granted for most of us in the United States. This book will open the eyes of young readers to a new perspective and hopefully will influence their thoughts on the current immigrations issues of today. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be recommending it widely. Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for the privilege of reading an advanced digital copy of this captivating book, in exchange for my honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Velez Diodonet

    "A sacrifice? I asked myself. A sacrifice meant surrendering something valued, simething cherished for the sake of a greater good. But who decided how much we sacrificed? Who decided when to stop? Who decided it'd be enough?" Thanks to @sourcebookskids for the gifted copy. Barefoot Dreans of Petra Luna completely warmed my heart. It is the story of a 12 year old girl trying to keep her family safe during the Mexican Revolution. Eventually they have to head to the U.S. border after their town is b "A sacrifice? I asked myself. A sacrifice meant surrendering something valued, simething cherished for the sake of a greater good. But who decided how much we sacrificed? Who decided when to stop? Who decided it'd be enough?" Thanks to @sourcebookskids for the gifted copy. Barefoot Dreans of Petra Luna completely warmed my heart. It is the story of a 12 year old girl trying to keep her family safe during the Mexican Revolution. Eventually they have to head to the U.S. border after their town is burned down and the Federales are targeting citizens. Petra Luna's character and story are based on the author's great grandmother. Petra was forced to grow up a lot sooner than most being the only one who could keep.her younger siblings and grandmother safe. She was constantly told that she should just accept their fate because opportunities for Indigenous & mestizo women were pre-determined by caste. Petra was torn between the old ways and having to survive on a daily basis. Meeting a soldada for the rebels helped to spark her motivation to dream bigger and want more for herself and others like her. I was inspired by Petra's tenacity for life and love of her family. I also learned a lot of Mexican history from this middle grade treasure. The themes that stick out the most are: 🇲🇽 the role the U.S. plays in blocking physical access to their right to seek asylum 🇲🇽 the disparities in opportunities for women 🇲🇽 the idea of good people vs. bad people not being simple 🇲🇽 how innocent poor BIPOC are displaced by civil war & unrest 🇲🇽 how corrupt governments are aided by outside forces who will them not offer aide to those needing asylum 🇲🇽 how total desperation leads one to leave their home for another country 🇲🇽 how important the contributions of young people are to revolutions and movements 🇲🇽 how love of family aides survival 🇲🇽 how even during war, the rich hold privilege 🇲🇽 how dreams can be limited within our own cultures 🇲🇽 how BIPOC children, especially outside of the U.S. have to grow up and take on familial responsibilities early on in life 🇲🇽 how important land and nature is to daily life 🇲🇽 that sacrifice is a not choice for many

  6. 4 out of 5

    Genetta

    I received an advanced reader copy and am excited to give this novel a Two Thumbs Up review. Author Alda P. Dobbs’ novel was inspired by her great-grandmother’s experiences and reveals a bit of history not often seen in middle grade fiction. Despite the panic and despair of racing from the dangers of the Mexican Revolution in 1913, Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna shines with the gifts of hope and courage. This powerful story brings history alive for young readers. Petra Luna faces challenges by thi I received an advanced reader copy and am excited to give this novel a Two Thumbs Up review. Author Alda P. Dobbs’ novel was inspired by her great-grandmother’s experiences and reveals a bit of history not often seen in middle grade fiction. Despite the panic and despair of racing from the dangers of the Mexican Revolution in 1913, Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna shines with the gifts of hope and courage. This powerful story brings history alive for young readers. Petra Luna faces challenges by thinking ahead. After Mama died in childbirth eleven months ago and then Papa was forced into the war, Petra chops wood to keep her family one step ahead of starvation. She doesn’t give up when their small village is burned and villagers are killed during the war. Twelve-year-old Petra leads her Abuelita, her 6-year-old sister Amelia, and their baby brother Luisito on a harrowing journey through the desert with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Ironically, their burnt village was named Esperanzas, meaning hopes. When Petra loses her own hope, Abuelita shows her how to connect to her past and to nature, the way her ancestors did. Nature points Petra straight into the camp of Pancho Villa’s revolutionaries and to Marietta, a well-respected woman soldier. Marietta affirms Petra’s leadership skills and offers help and a future to Petra, asking Petra to choose between becoming a warrior or leading her family away from war. A terrifying experience in a violent train wreck helps her make that choice. Throughout the journey, Petra treasures a black rock given to her from Papa. He’d brought it from the mine and explained, “When a piece of coal gets squeezed very hard for a very long time, it becomes a diamond.” Like her black rock, Petra grows strong as she is squeezed by life. At the end of her journey, Petra shines with strength, compassion, and heart. [spoiler alert] As Petra faces challenges and fears, her one constant desire to learn to read hangs over her head. In one scene, Petra walks through an abandoned ruin of a school, longing for what seems impossible. And then a hummingbird leads her back to her family at the precise moment needed for her to take her family on the final steps that lead them to freedom with the possibility of a school in her future and security for her family. This timely novel will inspire and soar!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Laura Resau

    I adored this book and will be recommending it far and wide! When Federales soldiers attack her home town during the Mexican Revolution, twelve-year-old Petra must guide her grandmother and younger siblings to safety. At the toughest moments, she draws on her inner strength, love for her family, and wisdom gleaned from people she meets on the journey. Her courage and resourcefulness prevail as she saves her family from dangers around every bend. On the way, she nurtures her dreams, which are sti I adored this book and will be recommending it far and wide! When Federales soldiers attack her home town during the Mexican Revolution, twelve-year-old Petra must guide her grandmother and younger siblings to safety. At the toughest moments, she draws on her inner strength, love for her family, and wisdom gleaned from people she meets on the journey. Her courage and resourcefulness prevail as she saves her family from dangers around every bend. On the way, she nurtures her dreams, which are still at the coal stage, but will one day shine like diamonds. Dobbs’ lyrical, vivid language sweeps readers up into Petra’s world, making us care deeply about her struggles and dreams. This heartfelt historical novel honors the true stories that the author’s great-grandmother told her about the Mexican Revolution. Dobbs brings readers on a pulse-pounding journey that opens our eyes to the bravery of refugees like Petra and her family as they venture toward safety in a new land. Through Petra’s unflinching eyes, we experience the complexities of war, witnessing history in the making. Although the novel takes place over a century ago, this moving story has a profound resonance today. The lovable characters, swift pacing, and simple yet poetic prose make this a captivating read for middle-graders and their entire families. Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna is as breath-taking as a shooting star!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nichole

    This is a very powerful book about a young girl who is born in raised in Mexico. She has big dreams and an even bigger heart. She has undergone much suffering and difficulty but refuses to give up on her Barefoot Dreams. This is a very serious book with big issues and a lot of violence. It is a book that is not for the sensitive child or faint of heart as it deals with very realistic consequences of war and hostility. It has a great message and is a ray of hope amidst a very difficult background This is a very powerful book about a young girl who is born in raised in Mexico. She has big dreams and an even bigger heart. She has undergone much suffering and difficulty but refuses to give up on her Barefoot Dreams. This is a very serious book with big issues and a lot of violence. It is a book that is not for the sensitive child or faint of heart as it deals with very realistic consequences of war and hostility. It has a great message and is a ray of hope amidst a very difficult background.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tria

    Magnificent writing! Gorgeous descriptions! Plus historical accuracy. All together these make this book one of the best books I’ve read this year and by far the best middle grade/young adult book I’ve read in years. The inclusion of the authors note at the end of this volume made the story even more meaningful. As a Spanish bilingual teacher I definitely plan to incorporate this into my classroom. It feels a much needed gap in literature that is accessible and appropriate for middle grades/YA bu Magnificent writing! Gorgeous descriptions! Plus historical accuracy. All together these make this book one of the best books I’ve read this year and by far the best middle grade/young adult book I’ve read in years. The inclusion of the authors note at the end of this volume made the story even more meaningful. As a Spanish bilingual teacher I definitely plan to incorporate this into my classroom. It feels a much needed gap in literature that is accessible and appropriate for middle grades/YA but still includes historical components that make this complex historical time in Mexico easier to understand. I loved how the Dodds included little explanations of some of the terms or people during that time period to help the reader understand, but she didn’t go so far into detail that it derailed the plot. Many of these little lines would create good jumping points for learning more about the time period and how people lived, or survived. I was invested in the characters from the start. Petra is a fierce girl who takes life by the horns and drives it into submission; however the world around her isn’t made for that type for girl yet so she is constantly at odds with her abuela. I also really enjoyed that they grandmother helps to ground Petra when she feels all is lost. Overall I highly suggest everyone read this book. It was absolutely phenomenal, well researched and extremely well written. I look forward to future novels from this author. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC to review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I went into this not knowing much more about the Mexican Revolution, other than it happened. So, it was delightful to learn about what happened, via the story of an Indigenous young girl who had to escape with her grandmother and sister and brother to America, so they wouldn't be killed by the Federals, the army of the bad guys. I loved that we got to see a revolutionary that was a woman commander, and that she invited Petra to join the army. It is a sad book, to be sure, but Petra has strength, a I went into this not knowing much more about the Mexican Revolution, other than it happened. So, it was delightful to learn about what happened, via the story of an Indigenous young girl who had to escape with her grandmother and sister and brother to America, so they wouldn't be killed by the Federals, the army of the bad guys. I loved that we got to see a revolutionary that was a woman commander, and that she invited Petra to join the army. It is a sad book, to be sure, but Petra has strength, and you keep cheering for her along the way. Based on the life of her great grandmother, during the Mexican Revolution of 1913, she was amazed, when doing research to find how much of her great-grandmother's story was true. Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Christina E.

    I can’t remember the last time I finished a book in 48 hours! Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna by Alda Dobbs was one of the best young adult books I have read in a long time. The characters were well developed, the story line was mesmerizing, and I felt ever emotion throughout the book. Petra was a determined little girl who was loyal to her family and followed the direction of her father. This is a wonderful middle school aged book to share the story of the Mexican Revolution of 1913. It was full I can’t remember the last time I finished a book in 48 hours! Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna by Alda Dobbs was one of the best young adult books I have read in a long time. The characters were well developed, the story line was mesmerizing, and I felt ever emotion throughout the book. Petra was a determined little girl who was loyal to her family and followed the direction of her father. This is a wonderful middle school aged book to share the story of the Mexican Revolution of 1913. It was full of emotion, perseverance, and determination! Synopsis by the publisher: 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 will become reality Thank you to #Netgalley and Sourcebooks Kids for this pre-released book. I can guarantee it will stay with me for a long time.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Fernanda Granzotto

    *Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an early copy of this book for review, all opinions are my own* I wanted to start by saying that I know next to nothing about the history of Mexico so reading this book has taught me a lot in that regard. This is a heavy book even more when you stop to think it's a real story, the events that happen in this book happened in real life, that for me makes everything heavier and harder to read. This is a hard book to read but at the same ti *Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an early copy of this book for review, all opinions are my own* I wanted to start by saying that I know next to nothing about the history of Mexico so reading this book has taught me a lot in that regard. This is a heavy book even more when you stop to think it's a real story, the events that happen in this book happened in real life, that for me makes everything heavier and harder to read. This is a hard book to read but at the same time fast, the author's writing is amazing, I must have marked this entire book because we have wonderful passages about reflections on life. I think writing this story in the eyes of a 12 year old girl was very accurate on the author's part because it brings a very simple and real vision of what is happening. Petra is one of the strongest and bravest characters I've ever read, her resilience will inspire me forever, she looks so mature because she's been through so much and has so many responsibilities but that doesn't stop her from dreaming. No matter what she dreams . To me this is a book that everyone should read, it's fast but incredibly important!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Outstanding debut! Engaging, beautifully written piece of historical fiction. Young readers will be drawn into this world of the Mexican Revolution. They will follow Petra and her family as they navigate a world of Federales and Revolucioarias. It is engaging, action-packed, and mighty fine story. So exciting!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gustavo

    This is a heartbreaking story about Petra, her grandmother and her siblings trying to survive the revolution rages from Mexico. I loved it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Binxie

    Set in 1913 this story of Petra, Abuelita, Amelia, and Luisito follows their escape from the Federales during the Mexican Revolution. Based on her families history, Dobbs has done a great job making one families immigration story accessible to intermediate and middle grade readers. It is full of adventure, excitement, interesting characters, and a hope for Petra and her family's safety. Set in 1913 this story of Petra, Abuelita, Amelia, and Luisito follows their escape from the Federales during the Mexican Revolution. Based on her families history, Dobbs has done a great job making one families immigration story accessible to intermediate and middle grade readers. It is full of adventure, excitement, interesting characters, and a hope for Petra and her family's safety.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    First sentence: The smoking star lit the night sky as women wept, holding their babies close. Men kept quiet while the old and the weak prayed for mercy. It was on that night that all of us huddled under the giant crucifix, the night when everyone—everyone but me—awaited the end of the world. Everything was a sign to us mestizos, from eclipses to new moons to burned tamales in a pot. I learned early on that all signs were bad. When sparks flew out of a fire, it meant an unwelcome visitor would s First sentence: The smoking star lit the night sky as women wept, holding their babies close. Men kept quiet while the old and the weak prayed for mercy. It was on that night that all of us huddled under the giant crucifix, the night when everyone—everyone but me—awaited the end of the world. Everything was a sign to us mestizos, from eclipses to new moons to burned tamales in a pot. I learned early on that all signs were bad. When sparks flew out of a fire, it meant an unwelcome visitor would show up. A sneeze meant someone was talking bad about you. If a metate—a grinding stone—broke, it meant death to its owner or a family member. But the biggest sign of all was citlalin popoca, the smoking star. Papá’s big boss at the mine called it a comet. Premise/plot: Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna is set in Mexico in 1913. Petra Luna, our heroine, has made a promise to her father to keep the family together and safe. But some promises are hard to keep--no matter how big the heart. With the Revolution in progress, there is so much uncertainty from day to day to day. The family--Petra, her grandmother, her younger sister, her baby brother--is forced to flee their village with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Everything is gone; there is no assurance for tomorrow. Still, Petra dreams big dreams. She dreams of learning to read and write...of a better future. Most of all she dreams of the day when her father will find them again. My thoughts: Absolutely beautiful and compelling. The writing is gorgeous. Truly a poetic work of art. I absolutely loved every bittersweet moment of this one. There's depth and substance. The characters are oh-so-human. Quotes: Promise. The word churned inside my head day and night. Six months ago, I had made the biggest promise ever when Papá was given the choice to join the Federales or be placed in front of a firing squad. On that day I had run across town looking for Papá, and when I found him, I knew he had chosen not to join. Papá stood against a wall blindfolded, his hands tied behind his back. He faced a line of soldiers with rifles aimed at him. All I heard next were my bare feet running across the line of fire toward Papá and my screams, begging to be shot along with him. I held on to Papá as two soldiers came to pull me away. I kicked with all my strength, and over my screams I heard Papá shouting for them to let me go, but the soldiers didn’t stop until Papá said he’d join their war. Before Papá was dragged away, I promised to take care of Amelia, Luisito, and our grandmother, Abuelita. He then swore to return. The Federales were the army of the government, of our current president, Victoriano Huerta, whom Papá had called a tyrant. This was the second time they’d charged into our village. The first time, they’d shot men as old as sixty and boys as young as eight for not joining them. They’d dragged Papá away and had also shot one woman who’d protested against her sons’ forced conscription. They were monsters I rushed into the burning hut, dropped to my hands and knees, and crawled across the long room. The smoke burned my eyes, and the flood of tears blinded me, but I pressed on. I felt my way around the floor, across the broken crates and pots, until my hand found it—my black rock. It was the only thing I had left from Papá. I don’t want to grow any thorns,” said Amelia. “Thorns are ugly.” “M’ija”—Abuelita wiped the corners of her mouth with her fingers—“your first breath was in the desert. The cord that connected you to your mamá was buried under a mesquite tree so that you’d always be part of this land. You already have thorns, and thorns are beautiful—they make you strong.” Abuelita spat out the chewed mesquite seeds. “Always be grateful for what you have. The day you take things for granted, your heart will swell with poison.” Amelia looked down at her elbow and rubbed it. “You’re right, Abuelita. The other day I felt something prickly here, and I think—” “Abuelita meant thorns in your heart, Amelia,” I said. Abuelita nodded. “En tu corazón y en tu espírito.” She patted her chest, pointing to her heart and spirit inside her. Are you scared, Petra?” Amelia whispered. “Scared of what?” “Of the Federales or of never seeing Papá again.” “We’ll see Papá again,” I said. “And right now, I’m much too tired to worry about the Federales.” “How about un apapácho?” said Amelia. “Are you too tired for that?” Unlike me at her age, Amelia never asked for a story or a song before going to sleep. Instead, she’d ask for an apapácho. If I had to guess, I’d say apapácho was Amelia’s favorite word. It meant cuddling or embracing someone with your soul. “Come here,” I said and stretched my arms around her. I squeezed her tight and used one hand to pat her back. And like Mamá, I ended the apapácho with a head rub and a kiss on the forehead. I lay restless for most of the night. My feet, my back, and everything in between throbbed. I wanted to stretch out the pain, but my muscles cramped with every attempt. My mind stirred too. I thought about my promise to Papá and how it’d been a constant struggle to keep in Esperanzas. I was now in the middle of the desert with a little girl and a baby in tow and an old woman with rickety knees. How would I ever fulfill it? And my dreams of learning to read and write—those drew further away each day. By now they were as distant and unreachable as the stars above. You’ve come to the right place,” said the priest. “You’ll be safe here.” Abuelita kissed the priest’s hand. “Dios lo bendiga, Padre. God bless you.” Suddenly, the sweet smell of pan pobre, poor bread, hit my nose. The scent awakened my stomach and tugged strongly at my heart. I looked around, sniffing the air, wondering where the smell came from. It was a scent that had always brought feelings of comfort and safety. I didn’t believe in signs, but if I did, I’d bet we were safe here. I lay down and pulled out my black rock from the hem of my skirt. I brought it close to me. It was a piece of coal Papá had given me for my birthday two years ago. It was more than a black rock, though. It was a baby diamond. “That’s how diamonds are born,” Papá had often explained. “When a piece of coal gets squeezed very hard for a very long time, it becomes a diamond.” My name is Adeline. What’s yours?” “Petra,” I said. “My mamá says Spanish names always mean something. What does yours mean?” “It means rock,” I said. “Like the one you’re holding?” I looked down at my black rock and put it back in its safe place. “My name doesn’t mean anything,” said Adeline. “But my last name, Wilson, is the same as the American president’s. His name is Woodrow Wilson, but my papá says we’re not related.” “Why didn’t you leave with your papá?” “My papá worked at a silver mine,” said Adeline. “He was an engineer there, and when the bad guys came to his work, he had to leave fast before anyone saw him. Later, a man came to our house and gave us a letter from Papá telling us to leave and meet him in Texas. We took a coach and got here two days ago.” “Do you have brothers and sisters?” I asked. “No.” Adeline frowned. “It’s just me.” Adeline continued to talk, and she talked a lot, but she also listened to everything I said. She shared her dreams of being an animal doctor, and I told her mine of learning to read and write. She told me stories she’d read about an orphan girl who lived with two evil sisters and another about a princess who’d been poisoned with an apple Adeline handed me the slate before covering our legs with the ivory blanket. “My mamá told me that when good, hardworking people have dreams, it’s always nice to help make them come true.” The slate had letters written on it already. “What does this say?” I asked. “That’s your name.” I took a second look at the slate. The white, chalky letters looked strong and beautiful. First, we’re going to learn to write your name,” said Adeline. “This is how you hold the chalk. Here, you try it.” Adeline wrapped my finger around the white, blocky stick. My hand trembled as Adeline guided me to outline P-E-T-R-A across the slate. I sounded out each letter along with her as I traced it over and over. I struggled to hold the chalk straight at first, but by my fiftieth time, I was able to write my name all on my own, without tracing it. “So?” Adeline asked as I erased my name. “What happens now?” Her tone was sad. “I write my name all over again and keep practicing,” I said, steadying the chalk over the slate, pretending to have misunderstood Adeline. I was sure she meant what would happen after the church, but I didn’t want to think about it. Not right now. I wanted to keep chatting, to keep learning. I wanted to, for a moment, forget all my pain and anguish. My day with Adeline had been like a sweet siesta, and I refused to be awoken. “No, I mean where will you go from here After Adeline notated the champurrado recipe, she threw her arms around me. “Gracias, Petra.” I didn’t tell Adeline, but recipes were also family secrets for us, and if Abuelita knew I’d just given two away, she’d probably have a patatús. I understood all about not sharing recipes, but after a long day with Adeline, she felt like a sister to me. Suddenly, a tall, blond woman with striking blue eyes approached us. “Petra,” said Adeline, standing up, “this is my mamá.” I shot up and stood straight. Adeline’s mamá smiled and brushed my hair back with her long, slender fingers. She said something in English, and I quickly turned to Adeline to learn what she’d said. Abuelita pushed air through her nose. “Barefoot dreams,” she muttered and turned to her side, facing away from us. “I’ll ask Adeline tomorrow,” I said to Amelia. “I’m sure she’ll say yes.” I turned back to Abuelita. She had always scorned my talk of letters, teachers, or learning to read. Her words had never bothered me, but now that Mamá and Papá were gone, they stung. “Why did you say ‘barefoot dreams’?” I asked. Abuelita remained silent and still. Amelia and I exchanged glances before she gently patted Abuelita’s back. “Abuelita, Petra wants to—” Abuelita gave an exasperated sigh and turned to us. “Wanting to learn to read is a big dream, and big dreams are dangerous,” said Abuelita. “You’ll do better when you accept things as they are, when you accept your lot in life.” I closed my eyes for a moment. Those words—lot in life—always turned my insides; they made me feel sick. “Petra, I know you mean well,” said Abuelita. Her tone had softened. “But dreams like yours are barefoot dreams. They’re like us barefoot peasants and indios—they’re not meant to go far. Be content with what you have.” I thought back to my village, to Esperanzas. No one there knew how to read or write except for the well-to-do. That bothered me, but what angered me the most were people like Abuelita who simply accepted it. Why hadn’t I been smarter? Why hadn’t I asked Adeline to teach me to write something more useful like train or station? A heavy, invisible force pressed down on my shoulders. The force pushed through me, reaching my soul and sapping away my last shred of strength. I fell on my haunches and hung my head. I wanted to cry but had no tears. I wanted to scream but had no strength. Instead, I cracked open my mouth, and a small squeak escaped my lips. I’d been defeated. I would never fulfill my promise to Papá or shine like the diamond I longed to be. I’d remain a lump of coal for the rest of my life. So, what now?” she asked. “Where do you go from here?” “We’re going north, to el otro lado,” I said. “The other side.” Marietta looked shocked. “The United States? Why?” “It’s too dangerous here,” I said. “I was told we’d be safe across el Río Bravo.” Marietta turned her gaze to the fire. She pressed her lips together and gave a subtle nod. “Besides,” I said, “I want to learn to read and write, and there aren’t any schools here.” “You know who Pancho Villa is?” asked Marietta. I nodded. Papá had told me about him. Pancho Villa led the rebels in northern Mexico. Many folk songs called corridos were sung about him, his bravery, and his love for the poor. Even children’s riddles mentioned him. He was loved by many, feared by many, and was known to have a weak spot for children, especially poor ones. Villa’s opening schools everywhere,” said Marietta. “He wants all kids to learn to read and write. Maybe you can go to one of his schools.” I glanced over at Luisito, who slept on Abuelita’s lap, and then at Amelia, who yawned but still clapped. She swayed her bandaged feet from side to side. My family looked so peaceful and content, but how long would it last? “How did you become a soldier?” I asked Marietta. “It’s a long story,” she said. I shrugged my shoulders, smiling. “Where to start?” said Marietta. Her eyes locked on the campfire in front of us. “It’d always been my papá and me,” she said. “My mother died giving birth, and I had no siblings. Since my papá never remarried, he focused solely on me and taught me everything he knew.” Marietta lifted her chin and her face lit up as she continued. “Papá was great. He was the best vaquero, cowboy, in the region. Everyone always brought horses for him to tame, and he trained them so well, you barely had to touch the reins to let the horse know what to do.” Marietta sighed, and the glow in her eyes faded. “Almost three years ago, two Federales stopped at our home. I was preparing dinner when I heard a scuffle outside. Marietta nodded. “After winning five battles as a captain, I unpinned my braids and let them loose. No one could believe it. But since I’d proven myself many times, they let me be. I went from Mario back to Marietta and still kept everyone’s respect.” I was speechless. I wanted to be like Marietta. I wanted to learn things, to teach things. I wanted people’s respect. “Why do you fight?” I asked. “To avenge your father’s death?” “I did at first. I was outraged, but as time passed, I remembered talks I had with my father about the injustices in our lives. We both wanted a better Mexico. A Mexico that belonged to everyone, not just the rich, and especially not the foreigners.” Marietta picked up a handful of desert dust and held it in a clenched fist in front of her. She released a thin, almost invisible trickle of sand through the bottom of her fist. You probably won’t believe this,” said Marietta. “But a hundred years from now, Mexico will be unrecognizable. It’ll be such a rich, beautiful country that the gringos up north will be the ones crossing the river into Mexico for a better life.” Marietta chuckled at her own words, and I smiled, hoping there was some truth to them. She remained quiet, staring at the campfire, then at me. “Petra, what do you want in life? Deep down inside your heart, what is it you want most?” I looked up at the sky and thought about my answer. “I want peace,” I said. “I want peace for me and my family, and I want my papá back in our lives. I also want land, not much, just a small piece to live on. I want to go to school and for my sister and brother to go to school too. Join us,” said Marietta. “Join who, the rebels?” Marietta nodded, “Yes. This army needs good, smart fighters like—” “But I want peace,” I said, raising my voice. I quickly lowered my eyes, realizing I’d been disrespectful. “I know.” Marietta nodded repeatedly. “Every soul in this camp wants peace. We’re all tired of fighting, but in order to achieve peace and attain the land and freedom we want, we need to fight.” Someway, somehow, I hoped Papá could find us. I knew I would never see Esperanzas again, at least not the town I’d known since birth. Despite these harsh truths, I was hopeful to one day see Mexico flourish into a country full of peace and prosperity for the people who’d fought and given up so much for her. For now, I was eager to explore this new land, eager to meet its people and welcome new opportunities. Every struggle and challenge I’d grapple with and every failure and victory that lay ahead would dig deep into me and help chisel out my true character. And I knew then, with all my heart, that one day I would burst with light and shine like the baby diamond I have always longed to be.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kasey Giard

    I read this book in one sitting, both because it’s a pretty easy read, but also because I couldn’t stop. Petra is bright and full of curiosity and determination to keep the promise she made to her father to care for her family. She makes sure they stay together, helps them when they’re weak, and stays focused on what matters, no matter what comes across her path. Her relationship with her grandmother is complex– there are levels where they just don’t get each other, and others where they deeply I read this book in one sitting, both because it’s a pretty easy read, but also because I couldn’t stop. Petra is bright and full of curiosity and determination to keep the promise she made to her father to care for her family. She makes sure they stay together, helps them when they’re weak, and stays focused on what matters, no matter what comes across her path. Her relationship with her grandmother is complex– there are levels where they just don’t get each other, and others where they deeply connect. I loved that. The descriptions of the places Petra travels are vivid and gripping. I felt like I could almost taste and smell the food sometimes. And the hot dry desert and its affect on them as they traveled felt so real. Though there’s some violence, it mostly happens off-scene, with some one-line references to what’s happened. In the author’s note, the author talks about how she learned about these events from her own family’s history rather than at any point in school. I didn’t learn about these events in school either, so I was really moved by the history in which THE BAREFOOT DREAMS OF PETRA LUNA takes place. It made me want to learn a lot more about Mexican history. All in all, I really enjoyed this book. The characters really resonated with me, especially Petra and Marietta, a captain in the rebel forces. I think readers who enjoy historical fiction or stories about strong female heroes will love this book. Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    Review closer to 9/2021 release

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Things are difficult in Mexico in 1913, especially for Petra's family. Her mother died when her baby brother Luisito was born, and since her father was taken away by soliders during the revolution, her abuelita is taking care of her and her sister Amelia as well. When the Federales attack Petra's village, the family flees before their house is burned. Before her father left, Petra promised to keep her family safe, so she takes them across the countryside before se E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Things are difficult in Mexico in 1913, especially for Petra's family. Her mother died when her baby brother Luisito was born, and since her father was taken away by soliders during the revolution, her abuelita is taking care of her and her sister Amelia as well. When the Federales attack Petra's village, the family flees before their house is burned. Before her father left, Petra promised to keep her family safe, so she takes them across the countryside before seeking refuge at a church. There, she meets a girl named Adeline who is from the US, and who is trying to get back there with her mother. She asks Petra to go with them, but Petra is determined to get her whole family to the US. The journey is arduous, and tears up their feet, but they persevere. When Luisito becomes feverish, however, they stop to seek aid from soldiers. A woman named Marietta helps them, and they receive food and medical care. Marietta is a soldada, a woman soldier, with the revolutionaries working with Pancho Villa. Impressed by Petra's determination, she asks Petra to become a soldier as well, but Petra again decides to stay with her family, even though her family could have become soldaderas, who cooked and kept the soldiers going. Since Petra also has a dream to become educated and break away from the social systems that kept her family in poverty, they press on until they come to a border town. There they find many people trying to get across a bridge into the US. The bridge closes, the cost to get across skyrockets, and it's all Petra can do to keep her family fed. Will she be able to find a way to get them across the border to a better life? Strengths: This is based on an event in the life of the author's great grandmother, and I love that she investigated a family story and was able to write a book about it after finding out that there was a particular event that she could pin down. This is an interesting story that readers who like adventure and survival tales will enjoy. I'm a big fan of any book that shows how difficult life was for children at other points in history or is for other children in the world; I read a lot of these when I was young, and think it gave me a lot of perspective that was very useful. Petra is a resourceful and determined girl who is willing to fight to overcome obstacles to get her family to safety, even though she could choose other ways forward for herself. In addition to her journey, there is plenty of history scattered throughout the book, and a nice timeline of events at the end of the book to help make sense of the overall picture. Weaknesses: For some reason, the phrase "baby diamond" (pertaining to the lump of coal Petra carries with her because her father gave it to her) was grating. I loved the thought behind it (that Petra could be like the coal, and would shine like a diamond after withstanding pressure), but the phrase seemed odd. What I really think: Like Sanchez's The Wind Called My Name, this covers Latinx history of which I was unaware. If you had asked me before reading this book, I would have said that Pancho Villa, like Lyndon Johnson, was not a particularly helpful historical figure. I'm always glad to see books that educate readers about historical events while also being interesting. Will definitely purchase. My children's great-great-great grandfather shot and killed his wife because she was going to divorce him in the 1860s because he was an alcoholic, then killed himself, leaving their six children to be taken on an orphan train from Wisconsin to Iowa. I've always thought there was a book in THAT somewhere!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn O'Neil

    So excited for this one!! Can't wait to read. So excited for this one!! Can't wait to read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bargain Sleuth Book Reviews

    For this and other reviews, visit www.bargain-sleuth.com. One of my reading challenges has the reader cover a wide variety of genres and specific types of books. One was an Own Voices book. When NetGalley offered Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna to me, I knew I’d found the perfect type of Own Voices book: historical fiction of events for which I had no knowledge, reading about another culture, a middle grade/YA book about a child coming of age. I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Wow For this and other reviews, visit www.bargain-sleuth.com. One of my reading challenges has the reader cover a wide variety of genres and specific types of books. One was an Own Voices book. When NetGalley offered Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna to me, I knew I’d found the perfect type of Own Voices book: historical fiction of events for which I had no knowledge, reading about another culture, a middle grade/YA book about a child coming of age. I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Wow. Just wow. This book was just incredible. I could not put it down, I could not believe it was a children’s book. I could seriously see this book winning the Newbery medal next year. That’s how good it is. Petra is a very strong young lady that has had to grow up fast. There’s been a revolution going on for a while (in 1913 Mexico), her mother died during childbirth the year before, and her father was taken away by the Federales to fight for them or face death. Petra is left living with her grandmother, her 6-year old sister and 1-year old brother. It’s up to her to keep food on the table. She does this by chopping firewood and selling it. Then the Federales come to town and take everything of value from the homes before they burn down the village. Petra and her family are forced to take to the road to find the next town with a train station. Along their trip through the desert, the come upon a church which provides respite for a few days. Then, the priest kicks them out because the Federales are on their way. They need to find the train station, which requires a few days walking in the desert with very little water or food. The family runs into some members of Pancho Villa’s revolutionary forces and Petra is asked to become a soldier. Instead, she says the family will make it’s way to the Rio Bravo and cross it to America to escape the revolution. Once they get to the border, the price to cross is so large, there’s no way they can afford it. To top it off, the few rebel soldiers in town at the border are leaving, and the Federales are on the way. The tension throughout the book is palpable. The danger Petra’s family faces at every turn seems insurmountable. This is a gripping tale, where if you don’t know the history of Mexico’s revolution, and even if you do, you might not know this particular tale. The author says this book was inspired by family events that had been passed down orally. Then Dobbs researched the information and found a newspaper article describing the events she’s been hearing about for years confirming the family story. I highly recommend this book, not just for children, but for adults, too It’s a harrowing tale that needs to be old. Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna will be released in September 2021.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    The year is 1913, and twelve-year-old Petra Luna lives with her Abuelita in the village of Esperanzas in Mexico. After the death of her mother and her father’s forced conscription into the ranks of the dastardly Federales, Petra is required to stretch beyond her years to care for her grandmother and younger siblings Amelia and Luisito. When Federales burn her village to the ground, Petra must collect what is left of her family and belongings to trek barefoot across the desert in search of a bett The year is 1913, and twelve-year-old Petra Luna lives with her Abuelita in the village of Esperanzas in Mexico. After the death of her mother and her father’s forced conscription into the ranks of the dastardly Federales, Petra is required to stretch beyond her years to care for her grandmother and younger siblings Amelia and Luisito. When Federales burn her village to the ground, Petra must collect what is left of her family and belongings to trek barefoot across the desert in search of a better life. Along the way, Petra meets many different people, each of whom makes a lasting mark on her as she fights for her survival and freedom. Based on a true story, this #ownvoices novel was inspired by tales told by the author’s own great-grandmother. Having grown up in Mexico during the time of the Revolucion, many of her struggles are reflected in Petra Luna’s story. From crossing the desert barefoot to facing adversity stemming from their poverty and lack of cleanliness, the road to America was not for the faint of heart. Readers will find themselves overwhelmed by the difficulty refugees faced during this time as they learn more about Federales and Revolucionarios through Petra’s story. Spanish words are interspersed throughout the narrative and are sometimes directly translated while other times are merely defined through context. The first appearance of these words is in italics, but after that, any further mention places the words immediately adjacent to and in the same style as their English counterparts. This compelling approach embeds Spanish into the story, just as the Spanish language is Petra’s reality. Regardless of a reader’s initial understanding of Spanish, they will have no trouble comprehending the multitude of Spanish words used in this story. At the end of the book, readers will find a note from the author explaining the impetus for writing this novel as well as a timeline of significant events from 1910 through the book’s conclusion in 1913. Though it is written for a middle grade audience, older readers will no doubt enjoy this book, as well. Beautiful and heart wrenching in its delivery, this historical novel is a powerful and important addition to middle grade libraries.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gailanne Smith

    Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna is gripping and heartrending, with just enough hope to keep readers engaged and turning pages. There are not many books that address the Mexican Revolution, especially not for students, so this book is also informative. The author states that this book is based on the stories her grandmother and great-grandmother told her in her childhood about how dangerous life was during the Mexican Revolution, including the family's decision to flee their destroyed village in ho Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna is gripping and heartrending, with just enough hope to keep readers engaged and turning pages. There are not many books that address the Mexican Revolution, especially not for students, so this book is also informative. The author states that this book is based on the stories her grandmother and great-grandmother told her in her childhood about how dangerous life was during the Mexican Revolution, including the family's decision to flee their destroyed village in hopes of reaching the US Border before being slaughtered by the Federales, Petra has dreams, though, of learning to read and write and having a better future than her ancestors. Her Abuelita tells her these are barefoot dreams, though, meaning that she should just accept her lot in life as an impoverished, illiterate girl, meant to marry and care for a husband and children, because that is what she is destined for. I love Petra's determination, She is not content to have that type of life, and she cannot understand why that is what she is encouraged to do by someone who loves her. Young girls who are told that they can't fulfill their dreams due to their circumstances will see themselves in this book and will understand that they can be so much more if they believe in themselves. Petra has promised her father, who was conscripted to fight for the Federales in order to protect his family, that she will care for her Abuelita, her younger sister and her baby brother, and she is determined to keep this promise. She is also determined that she will better herself and create opportunities for her family's future. The suspenseful ending of this book, also based on true events, which offers hope for that future, might seem a little overly optimistic, especially when we saw how immigrants are treated upon arriving to our country. Perhaps they, too, feel that every opportunity will be theirs upon crossing the border, though. While the ending might have that feel to it, the events leading up to it are not sugar-coated when it comes to the violence and hardships faced by Petra and the people she travels with. This will be a solid middle-school book for creating empathy when it comes to immigration and poverty.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    In 1913, the revolutionary war is raging in Mexico. Twelve-year-old Petra Luna’s father has been conscripted into the Federal army against his will and may never return. Petra’s mother had died in childbirth less than a year before leaving Petra with an infant brother to raise along with her six-year-old sister Amelia. Her grandmother, Abuelita, helps as much as her arthritic knees can manage, but the bulk of the work falls on Petra’s young shoulders. When the Federales burn down Petra’s town, t In 1913, the revolutionary war is raging in Mexico. Twelve-year-old Petra Luna’s father has been conscripted into the Federal army against his will and may never return. Petra’s mother had died in childbirth less than a year before leaving Petra with an infant brother to raise along with her six-year-old sister Amelia. Her grandmother, Abuelita, helps as much as her arthritic knees can manage, but the bulk of the work falls on Petra’s young shoulders. When the Federales burn down Petra’s town, they’re forced to flee into the desert with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Thanks to Abuelita’s knowledge of desert life, they find the water-dense plants that keep them alive long enough to reach safety in a church. While there, among the hundreds of refugees, Petra makes friends with Adeline, an American girl, who teaches Petra how to write her name. This small taste of literacy fuels Petra’s determination to go to school someday. However, her grandmother scoffs at her dream and tells her to accept her lot in life. Petra is angry that her that her beloved Abuelita doesn’t support her ambitions. This battle between the traditional ways and Petra’s desire to have a better life added depth and tension to this refugee survival tale. Petra is one of the strongest and most courageous characters I’ve had the pleasure to meet in a middle grade novel. Her resilience and resourcefulness was inspiring even as I recoiled from the hardships that Petra and her family experience. The vibrant, realistic descriptions had me feeling every bleeding blister and gnawing, empty stomach. Based on the true story of the author’s great-grandmother, this intense and terrifying journey of Petra and her family was hard to read, and yet, even harder to put down. Culturally rich, character-driven, and fast-paced, this is a must-read for historic fiction fans especially because of the unique setting of the Mexican revolution.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Klassen

    The Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna follows a girl and her family as they run from danger at nearly every turn. A sobering story where innocents must flee from their government. This doesn't shy away from details during the upheaval so be sure to check content warnings below. While the events of the book were thrilling and nerve-wracking by nature and I was invested in the family's safety, the writing of this novel was nothing special. It doesn't distract from the plot but it doesn't add anything The Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna follows a girl and her family as they run from danger at nearly every turn. A sobering story where innocents must flee from their government. This doesn't shy away from details during the upheaval so be sure to check content warnings below. While the events of the book were thrilling and nerve-wracking by nature and I was invested in the family's safety, the writing of this novel was nothing special. It doesn't distract from the plot but it doesn't add anything either. This is a basic historical fiction novel so the draw is the plot and the historical context, not the writing or character development. This fictionalizes the author's great grandmother's life in in 1913, but so many of the scenes remind me of modern day struggles for freedom and safety. Change a few organisation's names and you've got the migrant crisis in 2021. Seeing the struggle of Mexican families ripple through history this way is heartbreaking. This book would be great to read in classes alongside history lessons about the Mexican Revolution. Or pair books like Land of the Cranes with this historical one to teach the connection between historical and present injustices. Thank you NetGalley for the e-arc of this title! Content warning: parent/child separation, parent death, scenes surrounding poverty and homelessness, scenes with arson, gun violence, children in danger, explosions/train accident, scenes with injuries and blood, children dying, food scarcity, threat of starvation.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Candice

    I read this Fourth of July weekend which was the perfect book to give me a different perspective on what America means to a family fleeing a war-torn country in search of a better life. Dobbs' great-grandmother inspired this heart-wrenching, incredible story of 12 yo Petra Luna's "barefoot dreams" of learning to read and write, and protecting her family. I loved the earnest determination and bravery of Petra, her closeness with her 2 younger siblings, and how her abuelita taught her to listen to I read this Fourth of July weekend which was the perfect book to give me a different perspective on what America means to a family fleeing a war-torn country in search of a better life. Dobbs' great-grandmother inspired this heart-wrenching, incredible story of 12 yo Petra Luna's "barefoot dreams" of learning to read and write, and protecting her family. I loved the earnest determination and bravery of Petra, her closeness with her 2 younger siblings, and how her abuelita taught her to listen to the natural world to survive the harsh desert conditions to make their way to the U.S. border. It was such a beautiful mix of mythology and holding tight to dreams. The war brutality was presented realistically--the danger wasn't glossed over, but instead presented in a child-thoughtful way. I learned so much about a time in history that I didn't know much about. My 10 year-old daughter and I highly recommend!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early copy in return for an honest review. Set in 1913 in northern Mexico during the Revolutionary War, Petra and her family flee their small town when the Federales arrive and destroy everything in their path. Petra must lead her baby brother, sister, and grandmother to safety, and so she sets her sights on traveling to the United States. I think this story is more powerful because it is based on the real-life events of the great-grandmother of t With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early copy in return for an honest review. Set in 1913 in northern Mexico during the Revolutionary War, Petra and her family flee their small town when the Federales arrive and destroy everything in their path. Petra must lead her baby brother, sister, and grandmother to safety, and so she sets her sights on traveling to the United States. I think this story is more powerful because it is based on the real-life events of the great-grandmother of the author. I also think this book is an opportunity to learn more about the Mexican Revolution from a variety of viewpoints. Due to the amount of violence in the book, it is set during a war, I would recommend this book to upper middle grade readers. A quote to remember... "It's the same with people. When life's big problems squeeze you hard, you grow stronger. You grow up to shine like a diamond."

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cat G | _basicbookworm

    I don’t often read middle grade books, but the description of Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna sounded too good to pass up. This heartbreaking and inspiring book tells the story of a young girl and her journey to the United States from Mexico in 1913. After the Federales destroy her town, twelve year old Petra leads her grandmother and two younger siblings on a quest for safety. This heartbreaking tale shows so much strength and determination and throughout all of the challenges Petra never gives u I don’t often read middle grade books, but the description of Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna sounded too good to pass up. This heartbreaking and inspiring book tells the story of a young girl and her journey to the United States from Mexico in 1913. After the Federales destroy her town, twelve year old Petra leads her grandmother and two younger siblings on a quest for safety. This heartbreaking tale shows so much strength and determination and throughout all of the challenges Petra never gives up hope. This truly beautiful story is made even more special after reading the author’s note: her inspiration for this story came from her great-grandmother’s tales of fleeing Mexico and crossing the border to escape the Federales. This story is heavy but so inspiring at the same time. Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Kids for the advanced copy.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Celia

    The novel is based on the author's great-grandmother's experiences, and it's an essential piece of history.  Younger audiences will gain insight into why many families fled from Mexico to the United States, as well as some perspective on current concerns. Petra is burdened with a great deal of responsibility, yet she faces each obstacle with courage and optimism for the future. When she wanted to join the Revolutionarios and fight to rescue her country, her ambition to learn to read and her comm The novel is based on the author's great-grandmother's experiences, and it's an essential piece of history.  Younger audiences will gain insight into why many families fled from Mexico to the United States, as well as some perspective on current concerns. Petra is burdened with a great deal of responsibility, yet she faces each obstacle with courage and optimism for the future. When she wanted to join the Revolutionarios and fight to rescue her country, her ambition to learn to read and her commitment to her family made me feel proud.  Petra cherishes a black rock given to her by Papa during the voyage. He'd brought it from the mine, explaining that "when a bit of coal is pressed extremely hard for a very long period, it becomes a diamond." Petra, like her black rock, gets stronger as life presses her. Petra emerges with courage, empathy, and passion towards the end of her journey.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Infused with deep love and respect for family history, Alda P. Dobbs' BAREFOOT DREAMS OF PETRA LUNA is harrowing and beautiful historical fiction set during the Mexican Revolution. Young readers' hearts will ache for Petra as she struggles to protect her family after their village is destroyed by the Federales. I learned so much about the 1913 revolution in reading this book, yet it never felt like a history lesson... only a poignant and heartrending story about a girl's struggle to survive and Infused with deep love and respect for family history, Alda P. Dobbs' BAREFOOT DREAMS OF PETRA LUNA is harrowing and beautiful historical fiction set during the Mexican Revolution. Young readers' hearts will ache for Petra as she struggles to protect her family after their village is destroyed by the Federales. I learned so much about the 1913 revolution in reading this book, yet it never felt like a history lesson... only a poignant and heartrending story about a girl's struggle to survive and make a future for herself and her family. And the acknowledgements, in which Dobbs speaks to the importance of keeping our ancestors' spirits alive, absolutely brought me to tears. Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for Young Readers for the eARC.

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