Enrique can’t believe his father won’t let him travel to his team’s big soccer tournament. Papi says going across the checkpoint is too risky. Even though Enrique is a U.S. citizen, the rest of the family isn’t—and if the border police stop them, the family might be split up. The next morning Enrique decides he’s going to his big game, no matter what. But the day ahead will change how he sees his dad and how he defines courage…
This book is a powerful depiction of the everyday struggles faced by undocumented immigrants and their families. Sensitively told with expressive illustrations, Facing Fear explores the meaning of bravery and the strength of a community.
Enrique dribbled the ball right past the defense and kicked.
Slam! Into the goal.
“Way to go!” Sam slapped his back. Roger knuckled his head.
The whole team cheered. “We won!”
“We couldn’t have done it without you,” Sam said. “We’re going to the tournament!”
Coach passed out permission slips.
Enrique burst in the door after the game.
“Papá! I scored the winning goal!” He waved the permission slip at his father.
Papá read the paper. He frowned. “I can’t sign this.”
“But Papá! We’re in the tournament.”
“And you will have to travel through the checkpoint.”
“Papá, I was born here. You told me, I’m a U.S. citizen. You don’t have to worry about me.”
“I have to think of our family, Enrique. La migra. The border patrol can stop anyone. If they find something on your papers, they could send us back across the border, split us up.”
“You’re always afraid. Afraid of la migra, the police. Everything!”
“That’s enough.” Papá crumpled the permission slip and tossed it in the trash.
Enrique ran to his bedroom. “I don’t know why you even brought us here to America.”
He slammed the door and lay on his bed.
Enrique held back tears when he faced his friends the next day.
“I can’t go to the tournament,” he said.
“Why not?” Sam asked.
“What do you mean, you can’t go?” Roger frowned.
“Because of the checkpoint?” Coach asked.
Enrique nodded, and ran off the field.
“Enrique!” Sam and Roger caught up to him.
“The team needs you. You don’t need to be afraid,” Sam said.
Roger didn’t look at him. “I can’t believe you’re going to let us all down.”
Enrique walked home alone. Why did his father worry so much? I was
born in the U.S. I am an American, he thought. My team needs me.