The Only Road

The Only Road
Written by Alexandra Diaz

Publisher’s Summary
Twelve-year-old Jaime makes the treacherous journey from his home in Guatemala to his older brother in New Mexico after his cousin is murdered by a drug cartel.

Primary Source Pairing:
Readers will be on the edge of their seats as they journey with Jaime and Ángela travel north from Guatemala to Texas. By vehicle, train, water, and foot, the bravery and determination of Jamie and Ángela will stick with readers long after their journey is complete and the book is finished. There are many opportunities for primary source pairings with this story. Depending on the age of students, the learning environment, the community dynamics, and the content of the primary source, a visual literacy extension may help students discuss the complexities of immigration in our current time and as described in the book The Only Road. For this primary source pairing, use a map showing Guatemala highlighted to provide geographical context for readers as they visualize Jamie and Ángela’s journey. See additional primary source options below.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What size and shape is the map?
  • What graphical elements do you see?
  • What on the map looks strange or unfamiliar?
  • What questions do you have about this map?
  • Visualize the journey Jamie and Ángela made from Guatemala to Texas.
  • Reflect on the modes of transportation they used to make the journey.

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Guatemala in North America map: Wikimedia Commons

Additional Resources to teach visual literacy and photo source evaluation:
Crying Toddler On Widely Shared ‘Time’ Cover Was Not Separated From Mother, NPR, June 22, 2018:

Reuters Photojournalist Talks About Photo of Children Fleeing Tear Gas at Border in Mexico, New York Times, November 26, 2018: