Books

Thirty-Five Days to Baltimore

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In 2004, seventeen-year-old Alex Portillo embarks on a harrowing, treacherous journey from Honduras to Baltimore in the hopes of starting a better life. Over a decade later, Alex recounts his story to author and activist Jana Laiz in this bilingual retelling. This book will give readers insight into the incredible power the American dream holds for those suffering the hopelessness and violence of extreme poverty. This is a modern day odyssey of what one immigrant faces as he makes the treacherous journey out of unfathomable living conditions.

Reviews

"A moving story!! It is 2021 and this is a relevant chronicle. The brave voice of a man who raised it to speak up and honor all of those who did not survive “las fronteras.” Alexis had the courage to touch hearts and inspire hope for many of us. He tells his story, but it is also the story of millions of undocumented." ~ Liliana Atanacio, Founder & Co-president of Latinas413

Thirty-Five Days to Baltimore is a detailed and moving account of one 17 year-old’s harrowing immigrant experience told in achingly beautiful writing. I loved the book! Could not put it down!This immigrant experience honestly reflects the trauma, bravery and survival against all odds that people go through in pursuit of freedom. It is truly an honest depiction of many immigrants’ journeys in pursuit of their right to survive and thrive.”

~ Maxine J. Stein, MSW, President and CEOJewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts

“The reader is drawn into this captivating, heart-wrenching, but ultimately hopeful true story of a young Honduran teenager’s dangerous journey to America. An unforgettable account of persistence, bravery and ultimate triumph.”

~ Roselle Chartock, Author of “The Jewish World of Elvis Presley”

“While the conversation around immigration remains heavily politicized, Thirty-five days to Baltimore strips away all of the noise and gives us a crystal clear understanding of Alexis’s motives and the strength it took to set out and make a better life for himself and his family. Equal parts heartwarming and gut-wrenching, this book is a page-turner that will stick with you long after you have put it down and put a very human perspective on a complex topic. Thirty-five days to Baltimore has the power to change minds and hearts. I loved it.” ~ Akil Clark - President of the Spark Foundation

“The most compelling element of this book, for me, is the inclusion of the family’s story in the epilogue. Borders can be cages, depending on what side of a socially constructed and imaginary line you’re on, and having the insight from those on the other side once Alex has completed his harrowing journey makes this testimonial all the more poignant. I wanted to put the book down afterAlex successfully crossed all those borders, forget all the painful things I had read once he overcame so many obstacles, but it’s impossible to heal from trauma without understanding the losses and gains experienced by loved ones left behind.”

~ Michelle Lopez, Berkshire Immigrant Center

“An amazing story of grit, perseverance, hope and the human spirit.”

~ Ty Allan Jackson, Author/Speaker/AdvocateAuthor of “When I Close My Eyes”

“A compelling, first-person account of the harrowing journey of a seventeen year boy desperate for a better life. We are taken on a ride into a world of danger as young Alexis crosses borders to get to an America he doesn’t know. Thirty-Five Days to Baltimore is a chilling and intimate story of bravery, perseverance, hope, and love for family.” ~ Barbara Newman, author, “The Dreamcatcher Codes”