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Dancing Home

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  241 ratings  ·  59 reviews
A year of discoveries culminates in a performance full of surprises, as two girls find their own way to belong.

Mexico may be her parents’ home, but it’s certainly not Margie’s. She has finally convinced the other kids at school she is one-hundred percent American—just like them. But when her Mexican cousin Lupe visits, the image she’s created for herself crumbles.

Hardcover, 149 pages
Published July 12th 2011 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Okay for Now by Gary D. SchmidtBigger than a Bread Box by Laurel SnyderWords in the Dust by Trent ReedyThe Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own M... by Catherynne M. ValenteBreadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Middle Grade Novels of 2011
134th out of 146 books — 152 voters
Close to Famous by Joan BauerSmall as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard JacobsonWon-Ton by Lee WardlawDancing Home by Alma Flor AdaBeyond Lucky by Sarah Aronson
2014 Children's Sequoyah Masterlist
4th out of 16 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

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Lisa Vegan
Aug 26, 2012 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: girls 7-11, bilingual and multicultural lessons, anyone looking for a lovely family story
I recently read Love, Amalia, a book by this same mother-son writing team, and I really liked it, and so I was eager to read this, their first book together. I also enjoyed this story.

I really appreciated how the feelings of both the children and adult characters are taken into consideration in this novel.

Margie’s/Margarita’s feelings of jealousy and embarrassment and her confusion, and her joy and pride and enthusiasm all seem so genuine and believable, as do the thoughts, feelings, and actions
Kristi Bernard
Margie has been making every effort to embrace her now American heritage. When her cousin Lupe comes to live with them from Mexico, Margie finds that she is having to help Lupe adapt. It isn't easy since Lupe doesn't speak English very well and is having trouble keeping up. Margie is having to back track to the Mexican heritage she has been running away from. As Margie lends herself to family traditions and getting acquainted with Lupe, by sharing American experiences and embracing her culture t ...more
I am grateful to Alma Flor Ida for sending me numerous books that she has written, both picture books, chapter books, and cds of her reading some of them. I’ve shared many with our Spanish teacher who in turn has shared with students.
Margarita, one of the main characters, is about to have her life changed, and she believes it’s not for the better. Her cousin Lupe is coming to live with the family because her mother has remarried, and it’s a chance for Lupe to have a good education in the U.S.
Penny Peck
An enjoyable (but a little old-fashioned) look at a culture clash between two cousins. Born in the USA Margie is uncomfortable around her cousin Lupe, who has come from Mexico to live with the family in California and attend school. Both girls are in 5th grade, and at first the teacher makes Lupe Margie's responsiblity - demanding that Margie translate everything into Spanish for her cousin. This is probably based on the truth, but it is disturbing that a school would make a child responisible f ...more
Roci Hidalgo
I absolutely loved This book. I am a proud Mexican American and I could relate so much to what Margie was going through. To try to be full American because you want to fit in and you want to be the same with all the blond hair and blue eyed people.

In this book you get to see Margie and Lupe's story. Margie was born in Texas but has Mexican parents and she gets teased by her classmates for being different. So in order to fit in she decides to do away with everything that makes her different her
Kari Ramirez
Margie is determined to be as 'American' as she can and when her non-English speaking cousin joins her at school she is mortified to be associated with her. She's done her best to erase her Mexican heritage from the eyes of her fellow classmates and all Lupe is doing is shining a light on their ethnicity. And not only is she getting teased at school, but she finds herself being left out at home as well with her parents speaking more Spanish to her cousin than English to her.

Just like American Bo
Ada, A. (2011). Dancing Home. New York, NY: Atheneum.

Additional Information: Intermediate (4-6), Promotes Diversity

Summary: Ten year-old Margie has spent her whole life trying to fit in with her American classmates while being from a Mexican family. Margie's life changes when her cousin Lupe comes to live with her. Lupe must learn to adapt to American culture and learn English while Margie begins to embrace her Mexican heritage.

Notable Awards/Reviews: Booklist 07/01/11 (Vol. 107, No. 21), Libra
Margarita would rather go by "Margie" and calls herself American since she was born in Texas. But when her cousin Lupe comes from Mexico to live with her family, Margie has to sort out what it means to be American and what it means to be Mexican.
Anoush Emrazian
Margie's parents are Mexican. She was born in Texas and tries so hard to identify as "American." Her cousin Lupe comes from Mexico to stay with the family and Margie has to figure out what it means to be American, but also Mexican.

This is a middle grade novel and all in all pretty fluffy, while still dealing with some real questions. What I mean is, the only question in this book is dealing with culture and identity as the child of immigrants. The two cousins don't get in any mean fights (althou
Dancing Home was such a sweet, gentle story about family, identity, and embracing your culture. Margie is struggling because the kids at school pick on her for being Mexican. Except she’s as American as they are having been born in Texas. She’s finally gotten to a point where she has some friends, has her hair right, and goes by Margie instead of Margarita, when her cousin shows up from Mexico. This seems to remind the kids that Margie is still different and they start picking on her again.

Lupe moves from Mexico to United States to live with family. Lupe will be in the same grade, (fifth) as her cousin Margarita who goes by Margie. The story alternates between the cousins. Margie does everything she can to fit in and not be teased for being Mexican. Lupe is trying very hard to learn English and adjust to life in the United States.

Lupe and Margie's voices blend very well together making for smooth transitions. At one point Margie is reading How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay for cl
This is the second book on our 2014 state award masterlist suited to ELL appreciation. I enjoyed the themes in this book because they speak to multiple cultures in our country. I also appreciated the viewpoint from those who are bullied and the main character who ponders "does being American mean you bully whoever isn't?" This story explains the experience of many immigrants in terms that most of us can relate to in life. We all want to "belong" and feel that we "contribute", but too often we ta ...more
Stacy Ford
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fifth grader Margie has left much of her cultural heritage behind her. She has changed her name from Margarita to Margie, hardly knows a word of Spanish, and embraces American food and customs. After all, she was born in Texas, not Mexico, and considers herself American to the core. Mexico is a country far to the south of where she lives in California, a place about which she never thinks. When her cousin Lupe joins the family, though, Margie is embarrassed about her foreign-ness since she knows ...more
Dancing Home provides the young reader with a valuable insight into an immigrant experience. It isn’t shy about its goal to inform ignorant readers and commiserate with those who are not. I can’t say it is the most lyrical experience or the most “literary,” but need it be? Dancing Home is an ambitious little book, but with so few of these middle-grade stories by their (oft marginalized) authors getting through the Publishing World’s sieve (especially large presses), little wonder why.

I had mixed feelings about this book. The writing itself wasn't bad, but I had a few issues with the content.

First of all, the bullying. This book takes place in California, a state with a very large Latino population. From the first few pages of the book, I could tell that the teasing factor was an exaggeration. It seems unlikely that Margie would be the only Hispanic kid in her class/grade that was good enough at speaking English that she didn't need to be in the separated bilingual class. And
Kimmie G
It was amazing to see Miss Alma in person at the Virginia Hamilton Diversity Literature for Children Conference and hear how this story came about from her own family. I can imagine that this would be a situation for many similar to Margie and Lupe. The story is very sweet telling what was happening from Margie's perspecitve about her being born in America but having parents born in Mexico. At first she doesn't want to have anything to do with her Mexican heritage and wants to be "American". Whe ...more
Margie's parents were both born in Mexico and legally immigrated to the US, but she was born in Texas and is proud to be American, perhaps too proud. She wants nothing to do with her Mexican roots. She avoids speaking Spanish and begs her parents to speak English both in public and at home. She doesn't want to take part in any Hispanic cultural practices and even refuses to go by her real name, Margarita, for fear that her classmates will tease her. By the time she enters 4th grade she has lost ...more
Margarita, who goes by Margie, just wants to fit in. She was born in America, and she is American, and she wants to forget--wants everyone else to forget--that her parents are both from Mexico. That they speak Spanish at home and have family in Mexico and are...well, Mexican. That gets a lot more difficult when Margie's cousin, Lupe, comes to live with her family. Lupe has lived in Mexico her entire life, has a long, black braid just like all the stereotypical Mexican girls, and she doesn't spea ...more
I felt this book was very well written and showed that it doesn't matter where you are born or what your background is--instead you are defined by how you act, how confident you are, and how you deal with the changes around you. The descriptions of different things in the book were wonderful , particularly that of the dresses, which I could picture in my mind. The characters in this book were dynamic, each learning and growing and gaining new understanding of those around them.
This was a great book! I had to read it for my Children's Literature class. I really liked all of the characters, even Juan. Dancing Home is about a Mexican family, so there are a lot of Spanish phrases throughout the book. Don't worry, though, because the author translates them. This didn't bother me because I am pretty fluent in Spanish. This book had great values in it. I especially liked the poem at the end. A great book that I would recommend to anyone!
Lovely sensitive writing about what it means to be American for a fifth grade student who adjusts to her Mexican cousin moving in to be a fellow student. A bit slow moving with an emphasis on how difficult and slow it can be for a family to adjust to the most obvious problems and feelings. A very optimistic and up-beat middle reader book with lessons on acceptance, forgiving, and learning more after you already know everything.

Good quote from this book:

"You could use my mistakes as an excuse to live your life in anger, to justify anything you choose to do by saying, "It's because my father abandoned me. That's what many people do. Find their excuses in the mistakes that others have made. But if you do that, you will gain nothing by it and you'll be wasting your own life."
As a bilingual educator, I have been a fan of and used Alma Flor Adas picture books in my classroom, so I was excited to read a YA novel by her. I think that I wanted to like this novel more than I did for this reason. The writing is very simplistic and at times felt dumb downed, even considering younger readers. The characters emotional depth fell flat for me because of the language.
Adriana Mendoza
I chose Alma Flor Ada as my author study this semester. This book was one of the books that I read for my project. The book was a heartwarming tale about culture, heritage, family, and identity. As a Mexican-American I really related to this book. I never felt ashamed of being Mexican nor did I feel embarrassed of my family. I have always been proud of my language and culture. In this book we see a young girl who is finally fitting in but her family decides to take in her cousin Lupe from Mexico ...more
Young American Margie learned some great lessons as she got to know her cousin Lupe from Mexico and reconnecting with her Mexican roots. Themes: immigration, Mexican culture, friendship, heritage, school, acculturation/assimilation.
When Margarita's cousin, Lupe, comes to live with her family in California, she faces conflicting emotions. She comes to understand that she is both American and Mexican, and one is not better than the other.
I read this book because it is on the Sequoyah list. I thought it was a little didactic and was wrapped up a little too easily. I really wanted to like this book more than I did.
A quick read that leaves a lasting impression. Margie is upset about having her Mexican cousin Lupe around because she feels that her presence reminds their classmates that Margie is Mexican-American. Margie struggles with what it means to have been born in America, but trace your roots back to Mexico. Lupe struggles also, but her struggles are those of being an immigrant and feeling displaced in a new country where she doesn't yet speak the language. Dancing brings the 2 girls closer together a ...more
Margie is a girl caught between two worlds when her cousin Lupe comes to live with her family from Mexico. Margie is proud of the fact that she is American, and only wants to be associated with her American side to avoid teasing at school. Lupe helps her to see that you can still be American and acknowledge where your ancestors came from.

This is a great book for addressing issues of identity. The author does a really good job of explaining the hardships that immigrants go through for a younger a
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Dr. Ada was the founder and First Editor in Chief of :
NABE, Journal of the National Association for Bilingual Education

She has been active for many years in various professional associations including : IRA, International Reading Association
CRA, California Reading Association
CABE, California Association for Bilingual Education
USIBBY, US Branch of the International
More about Alma Flor Ada...

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