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Our Silent Journey- One Student’s Story and Journey to Become an Educator and Advocate for Newcomers to Canada

By: Ricardo Marroquín, Assessor at Reception Centre, HWDSB


Our Silent Journey was written with two specific intentions in mind: to tell a story with a common theme that most immigrants experience when coming to a new country, and to help educators understand the sacrifices that a newcomer makes when emigrating.  These two intended themes are brought together in this novel through a story told by an eleven-year-old boy from Peru.  


There are many reasons why an immigrant leaves his/her country; whether it is due to persecution (religious, political, or other kind), work, new opportunities or to provide a better future to the family. Nevertheless, it is certain that anyone who embarks in a new adventure, tends to leave a part of oneself behind.  


For this reason, it is crucial to open our hearts with no strings attached and genuinely help our neighbour, especially when he/she feels vulnerable in a new country. Our Silent Journey’s mission is to tell others of the emotional rollercoaster encountered as an immigrant and how a newcomer would deeply benefit from the new friendships made and the importance of how to give an “English” voice to those who cannot yet communicate in our Canadian society.  


As an immigrant and a second language learner, I wanted to encapsulate in a novel, my own personal experience and the various emotions felt throughout the journey of making Canada my new home. I also wanted to convey the message to other immigrants that in addition to Canada having so much to offer, so does one to this society. Furthermore, aside from the culture, language, and food, one also brings one's own dreams, perspectives, and skills, which in turn aids the new community in becoming more diverse, inclusive, and complete.   


While reading, teachers may consider:


  • What are the perspectives, skills and dreams of the students in your class?  
  • What space and opportunities do students have to share their voice (in English or other languages) as part of the learning in your classroom?  
  • What are the multiple identities of your students, that go deeper than the surface culture of language, food and clothing? 
  • How can culture be used as a resource for learning?
  • How can you support a student who has left his home country due to war?
  • How can you prepare an inclusive and safe space where all your ELLs can feel welcome to participate?
  • What ideas do you use to elevate the different cultures of your ELLs 

Here is my story:


Our Silent Journey – Summary



Our Silent Journey (English Edition)

El sobrino de las tías (Spanish Edition) 


Delving into this new and unexpected adventure in a new country, Canada, Martín did not know how to manage his emotions. Canada, a country that embraced both him and his family, was so very much different from his birth country, Peru. He grappled with mixed emotions. He was ready to explore this new place with anticipation, yet also feeling like he was falling into an abyss, as it also meant leaving his relatives and friends behind, and the life he was so accustomed to. Focusing on the new horizon and immigrating to Canada meant that he could finally be reunited with his dad, who had to flee his homeland in Peru.  


Martin’s journey is filled with many hurdles and obstacles that he must overcome, and adventures that often would bring him back to the past, reflecting on how it was and where his journey first began. Step into this journey with Martín and see how his life unfolds in a new culture and language, and how his greatest privilege comes from enduring many obstacles. Our Silent Journey takes you to another place and time and is a great reminder of the difficulties and challenges that a newcomer faces, as well as the blessings that also await. The greatest sacrifice of Martin’s dad was having to leave behind his beloved family, to embark on a perilous trek to Canada.  Nevertheless, his sacrifice will sprout new possibilities for all of them, and one that is filled with hope and new beginnings.  


Please feel free to visit the Facebook group for Our Silent Journey for reading posts and language comments by the author:




About the Author:


Dr. Ricardo-Martín Marroquín has taught second languages for more than fifteen years. These include, English, French, Spanish and Italian. He is an adjunct professor at Redeemer University (Ancaster, ON) and the Assessor for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) in Hamilton, ON.


His passion for teaching second language learners is clearly visible in his work. He contributes his findings in professional development and in his writings of novels and articles. He has recently published two novels; one in Spanish called El sobrino de las tías and a second one in English called Our Silent Journey. Additionally, he has authored a couple of articles called Cinema and the Teaching of an L2 in the Classroom (Animo Quarterly Winter 2021); The Complexity of Recognizing the ABCs for English Language Learners: More than twenty-six sounds (CONTACT Magazine November 2020 – TESL Ontario); and written a review for ITALICA Magazine (Spring 2014). 


Ricardo enjoys teaching ELLs, in addition to helping them find their English voice in our Canadian community.


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