Junior’s Dream / El sueño de Junior


A coming-of-age novella for young adults about a boy’s dream to make a difference in his family’s life.

by Rodolfo Alvarado
Spanish translation by Gabriela Baeza Ventura 

ISBN: 978-1-55885-900-5
Publication Date: May 31, 2020
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 214
Imprint: Piñata Books
Ages: 10-15

Look Inside


For generations, Junior’s family traveled to West Texas to pick cotton. The work was demanding, but the money earned was a blessing. For Junior, a teenager on the cusp of manhood, the annual trip offers a chance to reflect on love of family, tradition and his parents’ courage.

The kids always help pack the 1951 Chrysler station wagon fondly known as La Blanca. It takes seven hours to make the drive from Piedras Negras, Mexico, to the fields, and this year Junior’s youngest sister is old enough to join in the work. Her siblings are excited to show her the ropes, but they worry too. The farmers had a bumper crop and they expect the Mexican workers—adults and children—to work seven days a week, from sunup to sundown. Can eight-year-old Espy drag a heavy bag of cotton up and down the rows all day long?

But an unexpected event shakes the family to its core, leaving them in fear for Junior’s life and worried they may not be able to earn the money needed to see them through the coming year. Based on the author’s experiences, this short, bilingual novel for teens follows a boy’s journey of self-discovery and continued faith in a dream born of his father’s tears, his mother’s determination and his ancestors’ hopes.