Isabel Valle’s story is a window into a world that few Americans understand, even though migrant workers—large numbers of whom are U.S. citizens—are virtually our neighbors. As a reporter on special assignment for the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Valle lived and traveled with a migrant family for an entire year. Her widely acclaimed reports appeared every Sunday in the “Fields of Toil: A Migrant Family’s Journey” series.
The Washington State University Press, in collaboration with the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, compiled these award-winning reports into a dramatic book. Valle shared domestic and other responsibilities with the Raul and Maria Elena Martinez family during their annual cycle of living and working in the Inland Pacific Northwest and South Texas. Valle investigates many topics, including the drug smuggling and illegal aliens, children working in the fields, Hispanic customs, the difficulties of asparagus cutting, and the problems of cultural acceptance, and language barriers. Through Valle’s invaluable insights, Fields of Toil helps readers replace stereotypes and misconceptions with greater understanding and acceptance of the migrant’s life.
In 1992, the Associated Press Managing Editors Association selected this series as one of the 10 best in the nation published by a newspaper with a circulation of less than 50,000.
Photographs / map / index / 240 pages (1994)