February 23, 2001

Book Report

Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child

Que Bonito es no hacer nada, How beautiful it is to do nothing, y después de no hacer nada and after doing nothing descansar. to rest.

(Dicho Mexicano) (A Mexican Proverb)

By Daniel Muñoz

At last a book that will touch your heart, with its tender beautiful heartfelt memories of the author, Elva Treviño Hart. Her autobiography will reach every Mexican American who in their childhood were by circumstance a migrant child, following the road to the next ranch, the next field with their familias.

Elva's journeys begin every year from their ramshackle house in Southern Texas were their family eked out a living during the winters. As the summer season arrived, their Apa (Father) would load the children, from the youngest to the oldest, and headed for Minnesota or Wisconsin, to work the beet fields. These were the short-hoe killing fields that crippled the workers until the Chicanos of the Movimiento protested and made the use of the short-hoe a national issue. Their Ama (Mother) and Apa might have been poor, but in their hearts they held the hope and aspirations that their children would someday have a better life than what they were going through.

Elva's autobiography will touch the heart and soul of all of us who lived in the segregated barrios of California, Texas, Arizona, or New Mexico and other parts of America. The Barrios, that were home to the Treviño's, held within them all the essential elements that we needed to survive and make our lives worthwhile. Our lives were vibrant, full of family love, our poor barrios were essential supportive areas where we, the children of those times, could nurture and grow. The warmth and love of the cocoon provided by our mothers, fathers, and the large extended families within the barrios assured that no child would lack for food, warmth and love.

Elva Trevino, like so many of today's Mexican Americans, over came the disadvantages placed in her path. She managed to go to elementary school and high school and with her family's support on to higher education and earn a Bachelors Degree in Theoretical Mathematics and a Masters Degree in Computer Science/Engineering from Stanford University.

In the end, Elva Treviño ended where many of today's Chicanos, Mexican Americans & Latinos have arrived. They became educated, financially successful, but in the process, they mortgaged their souls and became migrant workers and slaves to today's "short-handle hoes": The multi-national corporations, which demand your life, soul, and spirit and turn you into a robot. Her life was not her own anymore. It belonged to the faceless corporation.

In the end, Elva discovers, she is no better off than her parents were. She had given her heart and soul to IBM. They give her money in return, but her soul was shriveling. What she did to save her soul, her Mexicaness, will make many of us think what we have sacrificed our souls for.

Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child is highly recommend for all those who worshiped at the altar of money and have lost their Mexican soul in the process.

Title: Barefoot Heart
Stories of a Migrant Child
Author: Elva Treviño
Published: Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe
Tempe Arizona
ISBN 0-927534-81-9
Bilingual Press
Hispanic Research Center
Arizona State Arizona
P.O. Box 872702
Tempe, Arizona, 85287-2702
Ph. (602) 965-3867.

(All author royalties from the sales of this book will be donated to scholarship funds)

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