A noteworthy review of Our Cultural Heritage from Children's Literature on November 1, 2002
In the mid-19th century American military power was used to defeat the forces of the Mexican government and greatly expand the territorial confines of America. First in the Texan War and then in the Mexican War American forces defeated those of Mexico and set the stage for an imperialist growth in American power. As a result of those events, areas that had historically been Spanish in culture were absorbed into the American body politic. States such as Texas, New Mexico, California, Arizona, and Utah all owe their origins to those events. Also, as a result of American conquests, thousands of Mexican people became residents of a new nation. Over time, millions more were to legally and illegally migrate north of the border. As a result, Mexican-Americans make up the most rapidly growing minority group of people in the United States. The rich linguistic and cultural heritage of Mexican-Americans exerts a steadily increasing influence on American habits. The details of this migration of Mexican people are touched upon in Judy Alter’s illustrated history of immigration from below the Rio Grande. In this informative work the author provides younger readers with a snapshot of the Mexican-American immigrant experience. Topics such as motives for migration, the travails of coming to a land that is not always welcoming, and contributions made by Mexican-Americans are all presented in a reasonable way. This is a helpful book that deals with a subject of growing importance.
—Greg M. Romaneck