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Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  161 ratings  ·  51 reviews
With humor and sensitivity, a debut novelist explores the coming of age of a girl caught between two cultures as she finds the courage to forge a new destiny.

"Miss, will you be my Amiga?"
Amiga means "friend" in Spanish, but at the youth center, it meant a lady to take you places.
I never asked myself if two people as different as Miss and me could ever really be amigas.

Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 8th 2015 by Candlewick Press
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3.81  · 
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 ·  161 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Jacinta is one of my new favorite characters. Her story rang true to the plight of many pre-teen girls-- conflicting emotions about growing up, the desire to be good at something and fit in, the feeling of both loving and hating your parents at the same time, et al. But Jacinta must also deal with the anger, fear, and confusion of being the American-born daughter of undocumented Mexican immigrants. Young readers will love Jacinta’s tenacity and be able to both identify with and learn from her im ...more
Carol Berg
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book after hearing the author read the opening pages. The voice caught me immediately - clear, charming, and authentic. But when I sat down to read, I discovered a story that was so much more. A girl child whose world is too small. She chooses to crash through those confining walls for entirely the "wrong" reasons. Jacinta is feisty and argumentative, jealous and scared and lonely, wrestling her way through the tangles, sorrows, and hard truths of the life she was born to. But thro ...more
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade-ya
A great read—and one that shows a lot of honesty and authenticity on both the part of the narrator and the window we get into her mentor.
Angie Martinez
May 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had my doubts starting this one, but Judith Robbins Rose approaches the subject in a real and responsible way. She doesn't force a white savior complex, but instead illustrates the effects of one life on another. It's also filled with gems of wisdom that are digestible to younger students. I look forward to sharing this book with a focus group of students to see their thoughts on the text.
Krista Danis
Jacinta, the protagonist of Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco, is a Mexican-American girl struggling with the otherness that her conflicted nationality imparts on her life and identity. Her tenuous family life tells a story of the Mexican diaspora experience in the United States, one that seems ubiquitous but also very particularly situated. Just as her mother, battered and desperate, crosses "la linea" in a attempt to return home to a crumbling family, Jacinta's father is arrested and presuma ...more
Marika Gillis
Through a series of haphazard incidents, middle-schooler Jacinta manages to weasel her way into the heart of adult news anchor, Kate, who reluctantly becomes her mentor. Jacinta's family is in the country illegally. Her father works all the time and her mother is back in Mexico caring for her sick grandmother. This means Jacinta and her older sister often spend hours alone caring for their younger sibling. Keeping this information from mentor Kate is difficult, especially when Jacinta's father d ...more
Maria Salazar
This book is about a girl named Jacinta Juarez who is struggling with the absence of her mother and is paired with a rich, famous mentor. This book tells a story about the struggle of a young girl trying to stay true to her roots and at the same time wants to fulfill a better future. As Jacinta’s world expands, so does her confusion about where she belongs.
I really liked this book because I believe many students who come from immigrant families can relate to this story. It is hard for students
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
So glad I got to see the world through Jacinta's eyes. This book is an honest and complex yet heartfelt take on how it feels to walk "la línea;" to have one foot in your parents' heritage and one in "the country where [you] were born and educated." Wonderful story.
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bildungsroman
Jacinta and her two sisters were born in the United States but her parents are undocumented workers. When her parents are deported Jacinta must rely on her mentor for help. A heartrending story that depicts the tragedy of deportation and the consequences that are forced on the children.
Nov 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely incredible. I don't care who you are, read this book. 100% worth your time.
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great voice and topic!
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Good to read this from the children's point of view. Our immigration policy has a real consequences far beyond what most of us think.
Ms. Yingling
Mar 16, 2015 rated it liked it
E ARC from

Jacinta meets newswoman Kate Dawson Dahl at her community center. Jacinta is working on a picture frame for a Mother's Day gift, and Kate is reporting on teen pregnancy. When Kate accidentally ruins Jacinta's project, she feels bad about it, and Jacinta is quick to jump on this and ask if Kate (or "Miss", as she calls her) will be her Amiga, a sort of Big Sister mentor. Kate, a struggling single mother of two boys Jacinta's age, doesn't want to get involved, but is soon t
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So moving! Do not let the reading level/recommended age fool you. This is a realistic book about culture clash. I am recommending this book to adults. If you desire any sense of what the Mexican immigration experience feels like from the point of view of the children, this is the perfect book for you. This is told in the first person voice of Jacinta. Through a chain of circumstances, a famous white woman becomes her mentor. How they misjudge each other and how they determine what is really impo ...more
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
I gave this book four stars because I really enjoyed it. I read a few other reviews before beginning this book. Although I agree that in some ways Jacinta is not a very sympathetic character, in most ways she is a typical twelve year old who has had quite a few challenges in her life and is doing the best she can. She experiences a lot of growth throughout the book, and in the end I really was cheering for her.

I had to trust that the author is giving us an accurate portrayal of what life might b
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Jacinta and her sisters were born in Colorado, but her parents are not in this country legally. Her mother has returned to Mexico to take care of their abuelita, who is very sick. Jacinta knows that she has to be careful with what she says and how she acts, so that she does not bring the attention of the authorities to her family. The fear of deportation is a real and constant threat. When a local news broadcaster shows up at the after school youth center, Jacinta latches on to her. Part jealous ...more
Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Jacinta Juárez struggles with situations and decisions which put her at odds with herself, her family and her environment. Can she make her way in the barrio blanco (white neighborhood) while still respecting her family’s rules and her Mexican heritage? When her parents need her help will she be able to cross la línea she has created inside herself to be there for her parents and family? Thanks to the help of her amiga Kate, and the educational experiences she and Jacinta have shared, Jacinta ma ...more
Debbie Tanner
This book was so different from books I've been reading and from my own cultural experience. It's about a girl named Jacinta who lives in Colorado with her dad and two sisters. Her mom has gone back to Mexico to care for her ailing grandmother and Jacinta misses her very much. Jacinta's dad is an illegal immigrant and goes to great lengths to keep people from finding out. Jacinta is involved in a program that matches mentors with girls to help them avoid teen pregnancy. Jacinta gets interviewed ...more
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: newbery-2015
Told from the point of view of an 11 year old Mexican-American, this story provides insight into the worlds of both an underprivileged child and the mentor who attempts to help her out. It demonstrates how even the best intentions can go awry without warning.

I enjoyed how much the author emphasized the power of words, both in English and Spanish. Using her new-found power of words, the protagonist, Jacinta, explores many different aspects of a world outside of her little one in this story. By t
Mexican-American Jacinta straddles two worlds - the fragile family existence with her undocumented parents, and the apparent advantages of the barrio blanco through her new Amiga, Kathryn Dawson Dahl. The author does a good job of capturing the instability, but also the tight-knitted community, of the immigrant families, and doesn't shy away from showing the unthinking exertion of white privilege. It would have been nice if the girl on the otherwise appealing cover could have looked more Mexican ...more
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
I read this book to my students. I was not a huge fan of it. There were good topics in it: immigration, racism, prejudices, and middle school drama. However, it was not a good depiction of Mexico--made it out to be a terrible place, no place anyone would want to return to--and the main character, Jacinta, was so whiny and ungrateful that my students thought she was obnoxious (I did too). The author also uses the same adjectives and metaphors throughout the book. It gets old. I would not recommen ...more
Jacinta and her family live in Colorado. Although Jacinta and her two sisters were all born in the USA and are legal citizens, Mama and Papi are not. They are always in danger of deportation and even though Jacinta is growing up in the United States, sometimes her life feels like a different world from the kids around her. She meets a local newswoman by chance and the two start a friendship that teaches both of them lots of unexpected lessons.

Terrific story about the American immigrant experien
Dec 10, 2015 rated it liked it
This book has a lot of ups and downs. It is about a Mexican family and their struggles to not be deported. Jacinta desperately wants to have an Amiga at the local community center. Kate works at a news station. She does not want to be an Amiga but slowly Jacinta convinces her to be her Amiga. This is a great story for older elementary/early middle school students. The hard part will be students questioning about deporting and what illegal means. I think it would be a good addition to provide div ...more
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Jacinta Juarez's parents are in the US illegally and their status effects everything. Jacinta and her older sister Rosa must be careful who they talk to and how much information they give out. Papi is working two jobs while Mama has returned to Mexico to care for Abuelita. This leaves Rosa and Jacinta to care for baby Suelita. Things change for Jacinta when she convinces a well-known tv anchor to be her Amiga, read mentor, but the changes bring danger and fear to the family and her mentor in way ...more
Tracy Hubbard
I was delightfully surprised by this book. It was funny And serious about what it would be like to be an illegal immigrant in the United States.
May 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Emotionally wrenching, as it should be.
Susan Kosel
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well written.
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a good book. My full review is at http://bookreviewsandwallpapers.blogs...

I received this book from Goodreads for an honest review
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
This book offers readers a window into the lives of citizen children of parents without documents.
Brenda Mena-Sierra
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed that the author gave insight of the true struggles the Hispanic community goes through and the affects that some of the struggles cause on families.
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Judith Robbins Rose lives in the Denver metro area, where she volunteers as a fund-raiser to develop facilities for low-income communities and serves as a mentor and tutor for at-risk youth. Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco is her first novel.