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This is one memoir that will stick with you

By Allison Kooser

Here at our headquarters in Chicago, the winter cold has us longing to curl up in a comfy chair with a hot beverage and a great book. So, this month, we’re picking up one of the most celebrated books of the season. In his powerful new memoir, Solito, Javier Zamora takes us along as he looks back on the life-altering 3,000-mile journey from El Salvador to the U.S. that he made at just nine years old.

To reunite with his parents in the U.S., Zamora left behind his beloved grandparents in his small town in El Salvador. What was supposed to be a two-week trip turned into two months of frightening boat trips, dangerous encounters, endless treks under the desert sun, and countless perilous moments.

He travels alone—a child amidst strangers with only a coyote to lead them safely through the arduous journey. As they make their way along the endless route, these fellow migrants formed an unexpected family.

Solito blends a gripping tale of an impossible adventure with a heartwarming story of the unexpected kindness Zamora finds along the way. The New York Times Book Review called it “an important, beautiful work,” and it was selected as the New York Public Library’s 10 Best Books of 2022.

Opportunity International is proud to serve clients throughout Latin America—families facing unimaginable challenges that can push them to make impossible choices. Reading Solito reminds us of the realities of so many of our neighbors across the globe face—and just how important our work helping families build sustainable livelihoods and send their children to school really is.

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