As a longtime teacher of multicultural children, Marietta Taylor Barron (’45 Home Econ.) observed the struggles of Mexican-Americans to overcome poverty and prejudice. She was determined to tell their story simply and visually for all youngsters to understand.
Two Worlds is the account of a pre-teen Mexican-American boy who challenged the system of school segregation in the California mining town where he and his family lived. The story is based on Barron’s own recollections. The author brings out the dramatic contrasts between the Latino barrio and the white section of town from a young person’s viewpoint.
A young Mexican boy decides, without any legal authority, to take himself into the whites’ school simply because he thinks it is better equipped than his. The reactions of his white classmates to his presence offer insights into children’s own thoughts and parental influences. Ultimately, there is a voice of reason and a happy ending, but not before the youngster runs away from home, tests life outside of the barrio on his own, and finds himself.
Barron, who is retired in Carmichael, California, has always enjoyed writing, even when she was teaching. In addition to her first novel, she has written several historically based magazine articles on the mining camps of California where her father worked.