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Tia Isa Wants a Car

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  213 ratings  ·  66 reviews
A little girl pitches in to help her tía save up for a big old car - and take the whole family to the beach - in a story told with warmth and sweetness.

Tía Isa wants a car. A shiny green car the same color as the ocean, with wings like a swooping bird. A car to take the whole family to the beach. But saving is hard when everything goes into two piles - one for here and one
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published June 14th 2011 by Candlewick Press
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Tia Isa has one wish other than being reunited with her family far away, to have a car that will carry them to the beach. Money is tight though and much of her savings must go to her family back home. When her niece sees the difference between what Tia Isa has and what she needs she decides it’s time for her to help. In no time they have the car Tia Isa dreamed of and a perfect day at the beach.

This is a story that all ages will love from children to adults because of it’s beautiful illustration
Tía Isa Wants a Car by Meg Medina, illustrated by Claudio Munoz is the story of a little girl who pitches in to help her tía save up for a big old car, to take the whole family to the beach, when they are reunited again in the United States.

The text in a large font includes dialog and text in both English and Spanish. Among the Spanish words used are tía, un pisicorre, Sí, Así, Tío, Rrrridículo, señor, niña, español, la vieja, mi vida, Abuelo, Mami, Papi, besito, vamos, ese mismo, mi hija, los p
Marissa Garcia
Tia Isa wants a car for freedom and the family but times are tough. Her enterprising young niece has a way to help, though.

Gorgeous, succinct prose pairs with equally expressive illustration in this beautiful picture book. The immigrant experience is handled with elegance and sophiscation, making all audiences, Latino or non-Latino, feel included and invested. Suggest to: patrons who want books about family, transportation, multiculturalism, the immigrant experience, books with great illustratio
Teaching recommendation: 3rd grade Economics unit

Tia Isa is a lady living with her brother and niece. She is a Latina immigrant possibly from Puerto Rico, or Cuba, the book doesn’t really say. Tia Isa wants to buy a car to take them to the beach. “A beach has foamy water that reaches all the places I cannot go.” She says. Tia Isa wants the color of the car to be “the same shiny green as the color of the ocean that lapped outside her window when she was a girl. When Tia Isa was a girl, the air on
Jamie Short
Text to World: Reading this book highlights the commitment to family and how families struggle and strive to do what's best but retain dreams. I think students can connect to this because some are separated from families and doing their best to support them, some have to sacrifice and save in order to make dreams come true. It's not a story that will resonate with Hispanic students who may have similar stories, but will resonate with the importance of family. However, I do think this can highlig ...more
A little girl’s Tia Isa wants to get a car in order to take the family to the beach. She wants one that is the color of the ocean with pointy wings at the back. But Tio Andres laughs at the idea, calling it “ridiculous.” They don’t have much money, but head to a car dealer where they find out they need to save more. So the little girl sets out to help. She stacks fruit at the store, feeds people’s pets, and teaches Spanish. She waits until her money sock is bulging full and then surprises her Ti ...more
This story is reminiscent of A Chair for My Mother, with Latina heroines. The financial (and feminist) struggles of the determined pair make you root for them throughout the book. At first, I really didn't think much of the book or the illustrations (watercolors in children's books have to work hard to win me over). But it's the kind of book that teaches you NOT to judge it by its cover. It really does get better and better the more you read it, think and talk about it. The characters are strong ...more
Tiffany Beedle
The story is about Tia Isa(aunt Isa) wanting a car. The little girl tells the story of her aunt wanting a car. The problem with Aunt Isa wanting a car is that she cannot afford it. The plan is to save money to buy the car. The little girl tries to do research and find out ways that her aunt Isa can buy a car, or save money to buy a car. Tia Isa wanted to buy a car to take them to the sea, to see the pretty water. In the end, Tia Isa is able to get the money, and afford a car to buy and take them ...more
Sarah Collins
Book Title: Tia Isa Wants a Car by Meg Medina

Description: Tia Isa wants to buy a car to take the family to the sea. She scrapes up her money but it isn’t enough. Her niece (the narrator) happens upon odd jobs and surprises her aunt with enough money to buy the car and go to the sea.


1) Show-Not-Tell: Meg Medina does a great job of show-not-tell, providing a good model for students.


CCSS.W.3.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective techniq
I enjoyed this story of a girl and her aunt, Aunt Isa. Aunt Isa wants a car but doesn't have enough money. Even though Uncle Andres thinks her idea is "rrrrridiculous," she continues working toward her goal of saving enough to buy just the right car. As a surprise, the narrator takes on some jobs of her own to chip in toward the purchase.
This book brings in the social studies topic of families being separated by borders. In addition to the car, Tia Isa also wants her family to be able to come li
I enjoyed this story of a girl and her aunt, Aunt Isa. Aunt Isa wants a car but doesn't have enough money. Even though Uncle Andres thinks her idea is "rrrrridiculous," she continues working toward her goal of saving enough to buy just the right car. As a surprise, the narrator takes on some jobs of her own to chip in toward the purchase.
This book brings in the social studies topic of families being separated by borders. In addition to the car, Tia Isa also wants her family to be able to come li
Tia Isa wants a car
I chose this book because it was an option on the desk, and I'm currently in Spanish class so I thought I'd really like this book and I did!
This book had a good message, the niece was taught to work hard and it ended up paying off. They were able to go to the ocean! The aunt was very proud of her niece and was happy to worked for her money. This book was cute, and a great way to teach children the benefit of working hard.
Carol Royce Owen
Tia Isa wants a car and her young niece wants to see that dream fulfilled so much that she is willing to work hard and pitch in her own money to help save. Tia Isa has been saving for a long while, but she sends a great deal of her money to her family far away.
I read this book because it has been chosen as a Vermont Red Clover Book for 2012-2013. I don't know if I would have chosen it, otherwise, and that would have been my loss, because it is a wonderful book. I love this book for the similes a
Kathleen Behrendt
This beautifully written picture book shows the life lesson of patiently saving for a big acquisition (a car in this case). It reinforces the positive outcome of hardwork to achieve your hopes and dreams. The story also shows the close ties of immigrants to their families back home and the obligation of sending money to help support them. The little girl, who is not named in the story, lives in the city - far away from the beach she yearns to visit - with a "Keep Off" sign on the grassy area in ...more
This is a sweet story of a little girl who saves money so that she can help her aunt who wants to buy a car. I love that the car her aunt wants is an old convertible, that reminds her of her past. I also love that people in the neighborhood offer to pay the little girl for doing some chores so that she can help out her aunt. This would be a great book to teach inferencing- the reader has to infer that the girls parents and grandparents are back on the island where her aunt grew up.
Dimity Powell
Beautifully illustrated picture book oozing with Latino spirit and verve about the virtue of never letting go of your dreams, working hard for them and relishing the moment they come true. What I call a 'movie-length type' picture book because of its high word count. But at least in this case, each of them was a joy to read.
Kelly Workman
This book is good for teaching that if you work for something, you can achieve it. It also introduces readers to the Spanish language by teaching them words they are already know in English. Tia Isa Wants a Car also can help introduce children to a culture that they may not be familiar with.
A story about perseverance and learning how to mange money in a way. In this story the young girl wants to help her aunt get a car, and to do this the girl finds many jobs around the neighbourhood. This is wonderful book and great for a story time. Recommended for ages 3-8 years old.
Absolutely delightful! This picture book has it all. Wonderful sensory details. Strong female characters. The relationship between the narrator and her aunt is touching. The story builds beautifully and has a catchy chorus. This would be a great read aloud in the classroom.
Tia Isa doesn't give up on her dream of owning a car so that she can visit the ocean which reminds her of life back home. Meanwhile, the narrator's parents have been away caring for her ill grandfather for quite a while. Both experiences teach her patience.
Massanutten Regional Library
Ruth, Shenandoah staff, July 2015, 5 stars:

This book was written about her aunt who wanted a car and bought a car. She took the whole family to appointments. The real car is pictured in the back of the book with a few dents.
While saving money to bring the rest of their family to the United States, an aunt longs for a used car to travel to the beach. But the aunt's brother scoffs at the idea of her ever being able to put away enough money to do so. Her niece begins doing all sorts of tasks to help her reach her goal. Once they have sufficient savings, they purchase a green car that is big enough to take the whole family wherever they want to go. The story's reminder that some things are worth the wait and that dream ...more
Tamiko Brown
Money is tight and a car seems out of reach for Tia Isa. She models a good work ethic and perseverance for her niece who decides to follow her lead. This is a good text to use for writing prompts and discussions with children.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Tia Isa wants a car but she does not have enough money. Her niece finds many ways to make money and give it to her aunt. Together the two have enough to buy an old, big car, a car big enough to hold the entire family when they are all reunited again in the United States.

“Tia Isa wants a car.

She tells me after work when she still smells of lemon pies from the bakery.

She is turning the jump rope that’s tied to the fence and I am already up to twenty.

‘Un pisicorre,’ she says, ‘to take us to the bea
What a beautiful and endearing story. Told from the perspective of a little girl whose aunt is determined to get a car to take her and eventually her family to the beach. Tia Isa saves and saves but when she goes for the car it isn't enough. So the little girl helps Tia Isa by doing little odd jobs for people. In the end they can afford the car and their dreams spark up again.

What a fantastic story about the simplest of things. To want a car just to take it to the beach. The author really bring
Tia Isa wants to buy a shiny green car to take her family to the beach. Yet, money is tight due to the financial obligations that prohibit her from buying such car. However, she is determined to get that car despite what her brother thinks. In turn, her niece seeing that her Tia Isa is serious, decides she wants to help. So, she tells people what her Tia Isa wants to do and they pay her for doing simple jobs. Before you know it, the little girl suprises her Tia Isa with the money she has saved f ...more
Ezra Jack Keats Book Award for New Writer (2012)

In this cute story, the narrator helps her tia save up for a car. The family are immigrants who are saving up so everyone else can come to America, too, but that doesn't mean that they can't enjoy the beach while they're here! Lots of good Spanish vocabulary and a strong message about work ethic--anything worth having is worth saving up for.
I love the story of working for something you want. I love the culture integration into this story, too. A great multicultural children's book!
The longer text didn't bother me at all in this one because I was busy enjoying the story.
Samantha Garcia
Tía Isa Wants a Car by Meg Medina. I read this book in class and thought it was a good book. The theme of this book is hard work can pay off later in life. I like how the author used the combination of English and Spanish in this story. It also didn't have to much spanish which was good because it didn't confuse me or through me off the story while I was reading it.
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Meg Medina has written for adults and children for over fifteen years. Her stories and poems have appeared in numerous literary magazines. Milagros: Girl from Away (Christy Ottaviano Books: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers) was her first novel for young readers. Meg is also the author of the picture book Tia Isa Wants a Car (Candlewick Press), which earned her the 2012 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer ...more
More about Meg Medina...
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