Annotation: Antonia is from a loud, lovable Italian Catholic family and she has one major goal: to become the first living saint of the Catholic churcAnnotation: Antonia is from a loud, lovable Italian Catholic family and she has one major goal: to become the first living saint of the Catholic church—perhaps the Patron Saint of First Kisses?...more
A sweet, quiet story about being different. Estelita is caught between two cultures—at home, she speaks Spanish with her immigrant parents, but at schA sweet, quiet story about being different. Estelita is caught between two cultures—at home, she speaks Spanish with her immigrant parents, but at school she goes by Stella and speaks English. She feels this acutely on May Day, when her family makes her a rainbow costume and all the other girls are dressed in only one color. Mora incorporates Spanish words to reflect the story’s bilingual protagonist and shows that Estelita’s loving family helps her deal with being different. The illustrations are soft and beautiful, showing Estelita’s quiet mother in warm brown tones and Estelita, who loves color, in a more varied palette. This longer picture book is better for early elementary readers who can appreciate the story, and could be used in a multicultural unit.
CIP: “A Mexican-American first-grader experiences the difficulties and pleasures of being different when she wears a tulip costume with all the colors of the rainbow for the school May Day parade.”
Positively reviewed in Hornbook, LJ, and Kirkus, which notes that “Mora celebrates diversity, but provides a balanced view of assimilation as well.” ...more
A funny, good-hearted story about Zoe, who wants to be a concert pianist but gets stuck playing the organ. Zoe’s narrative voice is natural and engagiA funny, good-hearted story about Zoe, who wants to be a concert pianist but gets stuck playing the organ. Zoe’s narrative voice is natural and engaging, and both boys and girls will enjoy her story about finding friendship and self-confidence.
CIP: Ten-year-old Zoe Elias, who longs to play the piano but must resign herself to learning the organ, instead, finds that her musicianship has a positive impact on her workaholic mother, her jittery father, and her school social life.
Hornbook: A positive review, calling this book a “winning story about family, friendship, self-confidence, and dreams come true.”
SLJ: Also a highly positive review, saying that Urban’s book is “an impressive and poignant debut novel.” It notes that the writing is “refreshing,” the characters are fully-developed, and the “sensitive story is filled with hope and humor.” ...more
This book takes an honest look at poverty and homelessness from a child’s perspective. When Georgina’s father leaves, the family can’t afford rent andThis book takes an honest look at poverty and homelessness from a child’s perspective. When Georgina’s father leaves, the family can’t afford rent and has to live out of their car. While her mother struggles save enough for rent, Georgina—frustrated and tired of showing up to school in dirty clothes and trying to hide the reason—decides to take matters into her own hands. Readers won’t be surprised when her scheme to steal a dog and then collect the reward money soon unravels. As it does, Georgina struggles with the tension between her conscience and her desire to have a real home again. Georgina’s voice is honest and approachable, and the book ends on a hopeful note. Since it explores some heavy themes, I’d suggest it for older elementary and middle school readers.
CIP: “Living in the family car in their small North Carolina town after their father leaves them virtually penniless, Georgina, desperate to improve their situation and unwilling to accept her overworked mother’s calls for patience, persuades her younger brother to help her in an elaborate scheme to get money by stealing a dog and then claiming the reward that the owners are bound to offer.”
Kirkus gives it a favorable review, calling it a “powerful portrayal from an innocently youthful perspective.” Hornbook also gives it a positive review: “a touching story about an ordinary girl in unfortunate circumstances.”...more