Star in the Forest
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Star in the Forest

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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  356 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Zitlally's family is undocumented, and her father has just been arrested for speeding and deported back to Mexico. As her family waits for him to return—they’ve paid a coyote to guide him back across the border—they receive news that he and the coyote’s other charges have been kidnapped and are being held for ransom. Meanwhile, Zitlally and a new friend find a dog in the f...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Yearling (first published 2010)
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Monica!
All right.

So.

On the one hand.

This is a young-reader-level look at illegal immigration, told in a fairly non-frightening way, with relatable characters and an adorable fuzzy dog.

Zitlally’s dad, on his way home for Zitlally’s birthday, is pulled over for speeding and summarily deported for being in the country illegally. Of course, everyone in Zitlally’s family is in the country illegally, except for her youngest sister, which makes it difficult for them to go through any sorts of official chann...more
Becky
maybe 3 1/2 stars. A short, accessible book that portrays some of the overwhelming challenges faced by undocumented immigrants living in U.S. Early in the story, 11-year-old Zitlally's father is pulled over for speeding. Because of his undocumented status, he is immediately deported to Mexico, leaving his wife and 3 daughters struggling to cope with life in their Colorado trailer. With her father absent, Zitlally finds comfort in an abandoned dog she discovers close to her home and spiritually l...more
Erin
My daughter bought this book at her school book fair and was thrilled to read it because she could relate to Zitlally's life as a child of a Mexican immigrant. She loved it and insisted that I read it too. The story line was sweet and gave a broad but innocent look at how immigration laws impact families in our country. I'm happy my daughter is interested in stories like her own father's and I'm even happier someone took this topic, even though illegal immigration is often thought of as taboo, a...more
Georgene
Zitlally's father is caught speeding by the police and because he is an illegal immigrant, he is deported back to Mexico. Zitlally and her family, except for her youngest sister, are illegal also. Zitlally is so upset that she stops talking at school and soon her best friends stop associating with her. Only Crystal, the girl who lives next door in their trailer park wants to be Zitlally's friend. Then one day, Zitlally and Crystal find a dog tied to a broken down truck in a junkyard near their t...more
Jennifer Lavoie
Found this at my school's book fair and I'm so glad I picked it up. Initially I bought it for my readers who love animals. But this book is so much more than that. It can often be frustrating to find books with characters from other backgrounds in them, and even those that do often brush that to the side or mention only the good things about that characters heritage. In this book, Zitlally is an undocumented immigrant living with her family in Colorado when her father is pulled over for speeding...more
Lori Redman
Star in the Forest tells the story of Zitlilly, an eleven year old girl living in Colorado whose father has just been deported back to Mexico. Her family (still consisting of a mother and two sisters) live in a trailer park and fear being deported as well. Zitlilly has grown accustomed to being popular and living well; but suddenly, living a life of secrets, she feels isolated and alone. It is only when Zitlilly finds a white dog in the forest that she begins to feel some hope, and even more sti...more
Julie
My daughter chose this book from a book fair at her school and since it is well above her reading level, I read it to her. The author did a nice job of presenting the realities -- physical and emotional -- that illegal immigrants endure. She also wove in some lessons about friendship and school social hierarchy that was refreshingly clear of the preachy. In fact, this book could have been one giant Preach-o-Rama and it wasn't. Topically, it's not a book I would have gravitated to, but something...more
Lauren
This heartfelt book would be a great addition to any 4-6 grade classroom. Zitally (Nahuatl), Estrella (Spanish), Star (English), no matter the language you speak, you can understand the plight of the main character. Zitally's father is deported when he was pulled over for a minor traffic violation. Zitally finds two unlikely friends who help her do what she can to get her father back.

I could not help but read the first page aloud to my class. This book is beautifully written and Zitally's uniqu...more
M Martin Penner
2013-2014 Young Hoosier Award book. This is my first read from the new Young Hoosiers for 2013-2014. I chose this book because it deals with the immigration, illegal immigrants and deportation. A subject I don't feel like I take enough time to think about. The school I could potentially be working at next year is 50% Hispanic. I don't know what percentage are illegal but I have a feeling some of those kids are dealing with the very same issues Zitlally, the main character in the book is dealing...more
Adam Donald
“Star in the Forest” starts out with Zitlally, the protagonist, having her father deported back home. After the deportation Zitlally is emotionally destroyed. She begins to stray away from her friends and withdraws within herself. Zitlally soon meets a large white dog that is tied to a broken down car in a dump. The dog is starving and for all appearances has been abandoned. Zitlally names the dog “Star” for a birthmark that he has. Zitlally starts feeding Star and nursing him back to health. Th...more
Joshua
First... awful awful cover... title not great...

Expected to hate it, but I really ended up enjoying this tale with its parallel journeys of father and dog... sweet... but marketing take note... this is not good marketing for this tale...

I am also curious how accurate the language is... I like how it was integrated in the story, and assuming it is accurate that's great!!! Also like the notes at the end!
Lindsey
This was a very well written children's book that touches on topics such as illegal immigration and animal cruelty through the eyes of the innocent main character. At times depressingly real, the high notes of friendship, love, and blue frosting kept the story light-hearted enough to leave me and kids grades 3-5 with a smile.
Laura
My 13th book for OBOB 2013. It had a very original plot and was interesting from beginning to end. Another book that I'm very glad the elementary age kids are encouraged to read. I honestly wish all ages were told to read it. It portrayed illegal aliens in a very real, personal way. This doesn't seem to be done very often.
Kris Patrick
I hesitated purchasing this YHBA nominee for my library because the cover looks as if it's from 1992, but now I feel bad because it's a super sweet story.I'll probably spin as a dog tale to students though I secretly want them to hear Zitlally's family story of being an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. Potential read aloud
NewFranklin School
Would make a great classroom book club book for grade 4 or 5. Lots of depth to the characters with enough going on to have great discussion. Themes of illegal immigration done very respectfully. - Ms. Patterson
Kristen Jorgensen
A charming story about a girl who's father gets deported. This is an excellent book to discuss with children as it contains current events that are being delt with in the U.S.A.
Talena
I read this with Michaela and we both enjoyed it. It was a different read for us both and opened our eyes to more of our world.
Alejandra Mendoza
Is About an Immigrant girl named Zitlally whose father gets deported on her birthday. She starts to drift away from her three best friends and starts showing poor performance in school. Eventually Zitlally starts developing a new friendship with a abandon stray dog she found in a junkyard and a classmate she would avoid named Crystal. Both Star and Crystal help Zitlally to be able to deal with the fact her father might never come back to the United States. Zitlally believes in a mayan myth about...more
Josiah
One of the shorter modern junior novels I've read, Star in the Forest offers a lot for the perceptive reader. No matter what side of the aisle one is on when it comes to the logistics of official U.S. immigration policy, it can be very easy for many of us as natural-born American citizens to not fully understand the emotional tribulation that the families of illegal immigrants go through when they face deportation. Deserved or not, being expelled from the only country that one has ever called h...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
This was a sweet little story that I enjoyed so much more than Return to Sender even though maybe it was a little more sweet than necessary. I think the bit about the animal spirit might have bothered me more but maybe it really shouldn't. While it's not mentioned directly in the book, Latino/Latinas can have a different perspective toward what it real than what is commonly accepted in secular white European-American culture. Looking at the events that seem unlikely from that perspective really...more
Becky
A short middle-grade novel about Zitlally, an undocumented fifth grader. She does well in school, and is popular with her classmates. Then one day her father is pulled over because he was speeding. The police realize he is undocumented, and arrest him. He is then deported. Zitlally's mother rents the girls' bedroom in their trailer to a couple of drywallers to help make ends meet. Because she is distracted by the problems at home, Zitlally's friends declare that she is "boring," and decide she i...more
Judy Desetti
Short novel and quick read. Zitally is a young girl whose father has been deported back to Mexico. The family are illegal immigrants. They face worrying about getting caught and sent back, being able to make rent and afford groceries. Eventually they get the money to pay for a coyote to bring the dad back across the border. Sadly he is kidnapped and bandits are now demanding ransom to release him. Meanwhile Zitally finds a dog and takes care of him while her dad is gone. She feels the fate of th...more
Kyra
Zitlally's family are immigrants from Mexico. Zitlally's father gets pulled over from speeding and the police found out that her father is illegal and has to get deported to Mexico. Zitlally's mom is then always on her cellphone, trying to find a way to get her father back.

One day Zitlally finds a white dog in the car part forest dirty and starving with no water or food. Zitlally thinks the tales her father told her about the ancient Aztecs were true; that every one on planet earth is lead to an...more
Cindy
A moving story of Zitlally, a young girl in Colorado, whose father is pulled over for speeding, found to be illegally in the U.S. and is jailed and then deported to Mexico. She finds a stray dog chained up in a local "forest" of an auto junkyard near her trailer park and befriends it, naming it Star for the black star marking on its white fur back. Besides providing her with some much needed diversion and comfort, the dog's fate seems to be wrapped up with her father's, perhaps as his special an...more
Elizabeth
An immigration story in which a young girl's father is deported back to Mexico, leaving the family to struggle on their own and the kids to miss their Dad. Zitally distances herself from her former "friends" as she processes her loss and is befriend by a girl in her trailer park who has her own sorrows and life challenges (mother has an abusive boyfriend). Not long after her father's deportation, Zitally befriends a tethered and apparently neglected dog. She comes to connect the fate of the dog...more
Naomi
Audience: Intermediate

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Award: Americas Award Commended Title in 2011

Discussion Questions:
Knowledge: What did Zitlally find in the forest behind her trailer park?

Comprehension: What do you think would have happened if Zitlally stayed friends with Emma, Morgan, and Olivia? How was Crystal a good friend?

Application: What questions would you ask Crystal if she told you one of her stories? Why did Mama act the way she did when she was pulled over? What do you think could have h...more
Penny Bollockia
I've just finished reading this book and have loved every minute reading it. A wonderful story involving the deportation of Zitlally's Papa. The sadness, happiness and hope of the tale overwhelmed me in a way that amazed me. The characters' are really good and that poor dog. The pictures are life-like as well. The few spanish words were nice as well.
L13F_Jana Wilkening
This 2011 Commended Title follows the story of a young Zitlally, whose name means "star" in her father's secret "Nahuatl language." When her father is deported to Mexico, she is devestated. One day, behind her trailer park, she finds a stray dog with a "star" shape it its fur. As her family works to bring her father back to the U.S. with the help of a coyote, Zitlally believes that by keeping her "star" dog safe, it will mean her father is safe too. This story has great themes of family, friends...more
Julie
On CCBC list of Multicultural Reads. Zitlally's father has been deported, she finds a dog needing rescue, and makes a new friend.
Childrens Librarian
Zitlally has a close, loving relationship with her father. When he is deported to Mexico, her world falls apart. New bonds with an abandoned dog and the spirited girl next door help her cope during this awful time (which only gets worse when her father, attempting to come back, gets kidnapped and held for ransom). This is a vivid description of the constant fears and upheavals families without papers face. It's also a beautifully written story about love and friendship, from a fantastic, consist...more
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202936
I'm the author of the young adult novels The Queen of Water, Red Glass, What the Moon Saw, The Indigo Notebook, The Ruby Notebook , The Jade Notebook, and the middle-grade novel Star in the Forest. I grew up in Maryland, then moved around for ten years (as student, ESL teacher, and anthropologist), making my home in New Orleans; Aix-en-Provence, France; Oaxaca, Mexico; Tucson; and now, Fort Colli...more
More about Laura Resau...
The Queen of Water Red Glass The Indigo Notebook (Notebook, #1) What the Moon Saw The Ruby Notebook (Notebook, #2)

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