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Fronteras: Children's Book 'Areli Is A Dreamer' Tells True Story Of DACA Recipient

Recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are often referred to as “Dreamers.” They share a similar story of coming to the U.S. as young undocumented immigrants, with or without their parents, seeking of better opportunities for their future.

Oftentimes, the family is of mixed status with some living undocumented in the U.S. while others in the same household were born here and have birthright citizenship. Author and DACA recipient Areli Morales is such a Dreamer and wrote about her experience in the children’s book, “Areli is a Dreamer: A True Story.”

“I always think that books, especially children's books, can be a mirror or a window to a different world,” said Morales. “So, I wanted to write this story for immigrant children that are living in the States because growing up, I didn't really have stories or books that had characters like me who had similar experiences that looked like me.”

Morales was born in Puebla, Mexico. Her parents came to the U.S. while she and her brother, a U.S. citizen, remained behind and lived with their grandmother as they waited for the time when they could join their parents in New York.

Morales’ experience of culture shock, the hardships of her youth navigating a new community with limited English and eventual embracement of this other part of her identity is captured in illustrations by Colombian artist, Luisa Uribe.

While Morales hopes the book will reach children who share a similar story and experience, she’s also hopeful it brings awareness to the reality more than 600,000 people face living with temporary protections under DACA and how the future of their immigration status remains in limbo.

“I hope that one day a lot of undocumented immigrants can live in this country without fear,” said Morales. “We deserve to live in this country with dignity.”

Listen to an excerpt of the author reading from her book here.

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Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1
Lauren Terrazas can be reached at lauren@tpr.org and on Twitter at @terrazas_lauren