Cover Image: Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna

Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna

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A deeply emotionally story of a young girl, 12 years of age keeping a promise to her father to look after her family.   Her dad had been forced to join the Federales, he had put himself to be shot rather than join, but Petra persuaded him otherwise.  About 1913, Mexico faced a Revolution.  Petra’s mother had died in childbirth and so after her father was conscripted she was forced to take control.  The Federales destroyed the family village but Petra escaped along with her grandmother, her younger sister and baby brother.  

Their journey North is amazing, the author based the book on stories she had heard from her grandmother and great grandmother.
A page turner, and one I highly recommend you read, it shows that fortitude and courage can win over extreme hardships.  It also gives you an insight to immigration!   A quick read.
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Phenomenal historical fiction giving insight into a period of history not often known to young readers. Fast-paced and engaging, readers will keep turning the page as they follow along on Petra’s journey. The author’s note at the end explaining the author’s family connection to the story as well as the timeline of historical events will help readers fully understand the story. Highly recommended.
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Posted on Goodreads- 
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.
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The blurb: "It's 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, (Federales) 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...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."

This Middle-Grade historical fiction novel is amazing! The government troops have already conscripted all the males into their army while the women and children scrape by avoiding starvation and death. When Petra's village is set afire by the Federales, she flees with her family. 

Petra flees to the north and encounters several obstacles and people: the female Captain of the revolutionary rebels, the middle class and rich folk escaping to the US, the murderous Federales, and those who show her kindness and humanity. 

At 12 y.o. Petra is the decision-maker, the problem solver, and exhibits the courage of an adult.  Socio-economic issues are highlighted without being preachy: "I wanted stability in my life. I wanted to go to school...I wanted a better Mexico. A Mexico that belonged to everyone, not just the rich..." 

Her culture as a mestizo is also evident through the language of her grandmother (Nahuatl),  "I'd never been ashamed of my dark skin or full lips...Girls with dark skin were expected to feel ashamed, to walk with their heads low and know their place in the world." 

We travel with Petra through the treacherous desert, abroad trains, through rain, heat, and near starvation. The choices she has to make are often heartbreaking. There is so much suspense, action, and tension in the pages and it's was not easy to put the book away for the evening. 

This novel would serve well in middle schools and high school curricula to discuss many issues. (Although this is for 4-8 grade readers). Although at times, this might read as much higher than MG level, the book is appropriate for any young teen. The Mexican Revolution is very important and this novel would be a great read for adults too. 

My interest in this novel was peaked because my grandfather came to the US during the Revolution to avoid being conscripted by the Federales. My kid's great-grandfather was kidnapped by the Federales and escaped by hopping a train (much like Petra) and riding it until he got to Chicago, Ill. 

There are thousands of stories like this in the memories of those who have escaped their country during war-time or famine. Children need to know what their ancestors or neighbors have gone through. 

NetGalley provided an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. I recommend you pre-order this novel which is due out in Sept. 2021.
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Alda P. Dobbs’ novel was inspired by her great-grandmother’s experiences. This was a beautiful heart-wrenching story about the Mexican Revolution. In 1913 Petra Luna does everything she can to keep her Abuelita and her younger siblings safe. During the toughest times, Petra draws on her bravery, strength, and love. I learned so much about the Mexican Revolution while reading this book. This is a wonderful book for middle age students.
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In 1913 Mexico the Revolution is in full swing, and 12-year-old Petra Luna has sworn to protect the little family she has left, her abuelita, little sister Amelia and baby brother, Luisito.  Petra’s mother died after giving birth, and since then her father has been conscripted into the army by the Federales.  When he left, he made Petra promise to take care of the family until they are reunited.  When the Federales burn down their town, Petra and her little family flee north through the desert hoping to find a safe place.  
Petra’s story is one of bravery, leadership and love. For a person so young she has experienced a lot of hardships. Petra has had to stand up and take the lead for her small family. The Mexican revolution is heartbreaking to read about as you read about families torn apart, towns burned down, and the battle for freedom. Petra is a wonderful role model for young readers as she strives for a better world for herself.
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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, Sourcebooks for Young Readers, for the eARC.
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This beautiful book tells the story of a 12 year old girl, Petra Luna, who is trying to survive during the 1913 Mexican Revolution. Her mother is dead and her father has been forced to go fight in the war. She is left with her grandmother and 2 younger siblings to figure out how to survive in a violent war torn country. They are attached and intimidated by the soldiers and left homeless with no where to go. Petra Luna takes the lead as her family journeys to find safety. I loved that a 12 year old girl is the hero of this story. She challenges gender stereotypes while also showing the reader valuable historical information about this time and place. It is an inspiring, engaging and powerful story for middle grades students.
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