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Rivera, Augie.
Quezon City, Philippines : Adarna House, c2001.
IL K-3
ISBN   9715081126
Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
"His tatay was wrong, the sugar here in America is not sweeter than the sugar back home. The sugar back home is just as sweet."

Juanito Valdez says this to himself as he reflects on the last three years working on a sugar plantation in Hawaii.    Juanito, now Johnny (his American name) came to America with his father at the age of twelve. He and his father, along with many other men and young boys, came came to America from the Philippines in search of a better life and to work on the wonderful plantations they heard of. When they come, they face the cruelty at the hands of greedy American plantation owners who exploit the old and the young  for monetary gain.  Juanito is forced to  give up his name and much of his culture. When his father decides to return home to the Philippines, Juanito makes the choice to stay and work on another plantation. Juanito finally realizes that life back in the Philippines had its beauty and richness of culture.
This book shows how life was for many Philippino workers who were enticed by the American dream and moved to Hawaii in the 1920's to work on sugar plantations.  Upon arriving, these men and young boys were treated cruelly by those who would exploit them for money.  This book highlights the American past that many would choose to ignore, but it also highlights the strength and determination of the Philipino culture.
I like this books because it shows the reality of what many immigrants had to face in coming to America in the 1920s and a young boy's internal awakening to the ways of a cruel world, but also his ability to appreciate the good also.  I like how at the end, he is able to see that life in his own country had just as much value as his idea of the American dream.  (April Salas,, teacher)

SUBJECTS:     Philippines -- History -- Japanese occupation, 1942-1945 -- Fiction.
                        Bilingual books.

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