Free to Learn: How Alfredo Lopez Fought for the Right to Go to School

Free to Learn: How Alfredo Lopez Fought for the Right to Go to School
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
April 02, 2024
‎ 978-1665904278
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From the author of the award-winning The Youngest Marcher comes a picture book about the true story of Alfredo Lopez, an undocumented boy involved in a landmark Supreme Court case that still ensures children’s right to education today.

Alfredo Lopez has so many questions before starting second grade! Will his friends be in his class? Will his teacher speak Spanish? But then his parents tell him that he has to stay home, and Alfredo’s questions change. Why can’t he go to school with the other kids? And why is his family going to the courthouse?

In 1977, the school district of Tyler, Texas, informed parents that, unless they could provide proof of citizenship, they would have to pay for their children to attend public school. Four undocumented families fought back in a legal battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court. Alfredo was one of the students involved in Plyler v. Doe, which made a difference for children all over the country for years to come.

Editor review

1 review
A Informative Book about Citizenship
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Free to Learn tells the story of Alfredo Lopez, an undocumented child, who is about to start second grade when suddenly he isn’t allowed to go to school with the other kids. The state of Texas had recently passed a law that made it so children were not allowed to attend schools if they were undocumented. Alfredo is unaware of why he isn’t allowed to go to school and his parents work hard to change the laws that have been placed deeming them unconstitutional.

What I Liked: Books you can enjoy while learning from always stand out to me and I appreciate when the story is told in a manner that all ages can understand regardless of education level. I appreciate how the author broke down Alfredo’s story from his time in Mexico, traveling to the U.S. attending first grade, being refused entrance to second grade, the time through court, and his return to school. The way this is broken down makes it easy to follow the storyline and answers questions that children may have while they are reading.

The illustrations add to the story and I liked how the font changes colors to contrast with the images. I like how you can see the character’s feelings in their expressions and the story doesn’t need to call those out to you. While the paragraphs can be daunting when first viewed, they are easy to go through and contain language that is easy to read aloud to a younger audience.

I appreciate that the author included more information at the closing of the book to explain the history included in this book. That piece is helpful and can help with questions that can arise after reading the story. This book would fit in great in a K-5 classroom for social studies or history.

Final Verdict: Free to Learn is a great informative story that introduces the concept of citizenship and rights to younger children. This book can also be used for older children who may be English Language Learners as they can follow along easily and comprehend the historical pieces.
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