The Magic Paper
The Magic Paper

The Magic Paper

Mexican-Americans: A Story Based on Real History


Hopes and Dreams


80 Pages, 5.375 x 8.375

Formats: Paperback, ebook: EPUB

Paperback, $13.50 (US $13.50) (CA $17.95)

Publication Date: July 2015

ISBN 9780866473835


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This 80-page easy-to-understand reader is one of 12 historical novels in the Hopes and Dreams series, whose diverse and fascinating characters, regardless of their ethnicity, face prejudice, danger, hardships, and setbacks, but survive with perseverance, a little bit of luck ,and a generous amount of love in their new home in the US. Downloadable audio recordings of all 12 novels and free supplementary materials for teachers are available (visit for more details).

Plot Summary for The Magic Paper: This is the story of Teresa Garcia and Benito Cruz, two Mexican-Americans. In 1980 Teresa buys a fake visa and comes alone to Los Angeles to care for her sick aunt. Then she stays, working in a dress factory to send money home to Mexico. Benito crawls through a pipe into California, where he works as a migrant farmworker. They meet and fall in love. Benito moves to Los Angeles and works in a factory. They want to marry, but they can't because they are illegal. They work hard and save money to go to Mexico and bring Teresa's sister back. Finally they have enough money, but when they go to Mexico City, there is a great earthquake. Teresa's whole family is killed. They come back to the U.S. illegally. They continue to work hard and wait until a new law lets them apply to get the magic paper, to become legal, and to get married. At last, they feel safe.


"The Hopes and Dreams series is highly recommended... as an excellent example of controlled vocabulary with a low-Lexile level and a glossary, relevant content about immigration, and engaging storytelling by the author, Tana Reiff." - Helaine W. Marshall, PhD, Professor of education and Director of Language Education Programs, Long Island University - Hudson Campus

Author Biography

Tana Reiff, author of the Hopes and Dreams series, holds a B.S. degree in elementary education and a master’s in secondary English with a concentration in applied linguistics. She has taught adult basic education, ESL, and college-level linguistics, and worked in multimedia communications for the Pennsylvania Department of Education. She is the author of dozens of hi-lo books (high interest, low reading level) for readers of all ages.