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*Radio Man/Don Radio* by Arthur Dorros


Radio Man/Don Radio
by Arthur Dorros
Ages 4-8 40 pages Rayo September 1997 Paperback    

Diego is known by friends and family members as “Radio Man.” In a family of migrant farm workers, Diego’s life is different from that of other children as his parents, brothers and sisters travel all over the Southwestern states picking crops.

Along the way, the radio is Diego’s constant companion, a reminder of where they have been and where they are going, announcing the familiar names of towns along the way - from Texas to Arizona to California, even to Washington, where the apple season is ripe for the picking.

In Texas, Diego makes a friend, David, but the boys know they may not meet again for a long time. While he sees cousins in other worker camps, Diego is disappointed when he fails to find David among the familiar faces.

One day, the radio announcer urges listeners to call in with messages. Hearing this, Diego has a brilliant idea: he calls the station and sends a message to David, “Are you there?” Happily, David is listening to the radio that day and answers his friend’s call.

Written in English and Spanish, the story accentuates the very different world of migrant farm workers, where friendships are often difficult to maintain as families move from place to place earning a living. But thanks to his radio, Diego is able to locate David again, thrilled that his message is heard by the very person for which it was intended.

I didn’t find this story as accessible in its bilingual format, the unfamiliar words used in the English text sometimes suggested rather than defined. Nevertheless, this story is poignant and instructive, a rare peek behind the many faces of our society, revealing the everyday concerns of a young boy hoping to find his friend.

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