Growing up in his grandparents’ home in La Herradura, a Salvadoran fishing village, Javier dreams of flying over fields to a land where everything is new, fresh, where garbage is collected by trucks, water comes out of silver faucets, and it snows the whitest snow. Solito is the story of an 9-year-old migrante who traveled from Guatemala, through Mexico and the Sonoran Desert to the US to join his parents. They had left years earlier while he stayed behind with his grandparents. "There was a war and then there were no jobs," is how his Tia Mali explains his parents' absence to the young boy. The memoir is a detailed chronicle of Zamora's 3,000-mile journey. He travels without family members but in the company of several 'coyotes' and a small group of other migrantes.
Solito provides an intimate account of a harrowing journey where the young boy has many encounters which require miracles to leave him unharmed, yet he also receives gestures of love and human kindness from his fellow travelers when he truly needs it. Given the great dangers and obstacles this journey was unlikely to have a good outcome. But Javier Zamora makes it. And he does write his memoir.
At a time when answers to a worldwide migrant crisis are more pressing than ever but also intractable, we hope to engage in a conversation about a story that is part of our American past and future.