A Selection of International Children's and Youth Literature

German / Germany

Train Kids

Reinhardt, Dirk (text)
Hildesheim: Gerstenberg, 2015. – 318 p.
ISBN 978-3-8369-5800-4

Mexico – Escape – USA – Illegal immigration – Violence

It is shaking, it is rattling, it is loud, it is hot, it is cold: Fernando, Emilio, Ángel, Jaz, and the narrator Miguel are “train kids”. They jump on freight trains to travel from the southern border of Mexico to the US-border. There they hope to make a fortune and meet their parents or brothers and sisters who travelled north and never came back. The trip is dangerous, and many never make it: Corrupt police agents make raids on the train, highwaymen attack the travelers; Mara youth gangs and brutal drug gangs threaten the train kids, beat them up, rob the little belongings they have, kidnap and kill them. Law and order do not exist for the people on the trains, rarely are their people who offer help. Dirk Reinhardt spent a long time researching his novel in Mexico, interviewing many train kids. His book is no documentary, however, but a novel, in which the author draws on the devices of literary fiction to give a vivid account of what he witnessed. (Age: 12+)