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Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border
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Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  608 ratings  ·  135 reviews
Winner of the Américas Award
ALA Notable Book for Children
Notable Social Studies Trade Book
NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor Award
Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature Best Book of the Year

"Mitali Perkins’ story is a perfect introduction for children to how borders separate families, delicately embracing the reunion’s joy and enduring sadness. Sara Palacios’ i
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
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Average rating 4.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  608 ratings  ·  135 reviews

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Jon Nakapalau
Powerful book that looks at this most critical of issues - art is fantastic!
Jacquelyn Erickson
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border is a winner of the Américas Award ALA Notable Social Studies Trade Book NCTE Charlotte Shuck Honor Awards Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature Best Book of the Year. This book is written by Mitali Perkins and illustrated by Sara Palacios.

It is a story about a little girl, her mother and younger bother who go to the border to see their grandmother and celebrate Las Posadas. The children and their mother have not seen th
Robbi C
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: h-books, c-books
Amy Layton
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Equal parts adorable and idealistic, this book makes for a great tale for helping children understand just how and why families look different in different situations.  Take for instance Juan and Maria's family--they live with their mom, but the only time they can visit their grandmother is in half hour increments through a chainlink fence.  But when Maria and Juan realize that they can't give their grandmother any gifts, Maria gets creative and constructs a kite to send over their gifts.  After ...more
This simple picture book went straight to my heart. Maria, Juan and their mother travel to Friendship Park at the border of San Diego and Tijuana. I know that border pretty well since my mom used to drive down on weekends to buy fresh tortillas. But I moved away when I went to college and I haven't been back since. I had no idea that families meet at the fence to talk and laugh and love each other. Many meet during "Las Posadas" a nine day celebration from December 16 to December 24 commemoratin ...more
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: immigration
I would pair this with Efren Divided
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story of how clever girl celebrates Las Posadas with her Abuela despite being separated by the US/Mexican border.
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Such a beautiful story about a family coming together at Christmas for La Posada Sin Fronteras. We read it tonight and all my kids were completely engaged, from my nineteen year old who encouraged me to keep reading through the tears in my eyes, to my six year old who couldn't wait to see if Maria's kite would make it over the border. A new Christmas favorite at our house. ...more
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the story of a family that travels to the U.S./Mexico border during La Posada Sin Fronteras. “The Inn Without Borders” is a one-day celebration in December allowing people on both sides of the San Diego/Tijuana border to get together - sort of - across the fence dividing the two countries. Posada [the word for inn as well as the name of the celebration] is a Mexican tradition re-enacting Joseph and Mary’s search for shelter before Mary gave birth to Jesus. As the American Friends Society ...more
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Two young children go with their mom to the Mexican border near San Diego to visit with their grandmother, who lives in Mexico. Juan has brought a picture for his grandma, but the border patrol says nothing can be passed through the fence. Juan's sister comes up with a clever solution. ...more
Richie Partington
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks
Richie’s Picks: BETWEEN US AND ABUELA: A FAMILY STORY FROM THE BORDER by Mitali Perkins and Sara Palacios, Farrar Straus Giroux, September 2019, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-374-30373-0

“The Trump administration has sparked outcry in Arizona after video posted on social media showed construction crews tasked with building President Donald Trump’s long-promised border wall bulldozing down some of the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument’s most ‘iconic’ cacti.”
-- Newsweek (10/7/2019)

“I don’t believe in guarded
Chance Lee
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-it
Stunning illustrations help tell a story about a custom that I was unfamiliar with.
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well, I'm crying at work now... ...more
Victoria (Tori)
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: diverse-lit
Diverse Children’s literature is supposed to serve as both a mirror and window. While the mirrors reflect our truths, the windows open our eyes to other realities.

For me, this 2019 Américas award winner, as well as Charlotte Huck honor, was a window. Before reading, I had never heard of La Posada Sin Fronteras, an event that occurs annually in San Diego and Tijuana. This is NOT something that I am proud to admit as a dual-language educator.

In the story, María, her little brother Juan, and her mo
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kidlit, picturebooks
Beautifully written and illustrated story about a mother and her two children in California visiting Abuela through the US-Mexico border wall, and their determination to share a gift with Abuela even though the officers can’t let anything through the fence.

Especially memorable is the line: “Hugging her would feel like hugging a chunk of cookie dough.” We know they are unable to hug, even though this is their first visit in 5 years. We also know from the story’s first sentence that Abuela is belo
This book has excellent illustrations, but what is really captivating is the story and the thought that our countries, Mexico and the United States, might experience the celebration of La Posada Sin Fronteras on a greater scale - as the young protagonist, María, says, "For a moment, the fences are invisible." Her creative way of connecting with her Abuela on the other side of the fence is unique and moving, and a wonderful part of the story is how the Border Patrol agent turns a blind eye and ev ...more
Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: pbf-family
I was puzzled as to why this family did not simply cross the border to go visit Abuela at her home. I understand there was a special celebration at this double fence, but they might have enjoyed more going to her home, where they could give to her in person the gifts they made.
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful story!!
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From the author's note: "Las Posadas is a nine-day festival celebrated throughout Mexico... from December 16 until Dec 24. It is a time to remember the birth of Jesus and how his parents... searched for shelter on the night he was born. Turned away from the inns of Bethlehem, Maria [Mary] gave birth to her baby and laid him in a manger instead.

"Every night during Las Posadas, two people dress up as Maria and Jose [Joseph]. A procession of neighbors holding candles and poinsettias join them to kn
June Jacobs
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I do not want to reveal too much about this book because one of the beautiful things about this touching story is the element of surprise as you read through each page and absorb the lovely illustrations and the meaning of the events in the story. Children will delight at the culminating event of the narrative.

This is a story of family, love, loyalty, ingenuity, and determination. It would make a powerful read-aloud for families, library storytimes, church groups, and classrooms. Even though Ama
Jaimie Morris
This is a very heartfelt and powerful story that would have a deep impact no matter what time of year it was set. But the fact that it’s set during Christmas adds that extra bit of emotional punch to really drive home this book’s importance.

Between Us and Abuela features a family separated by the wall between the U.S. and Mexico during Christmastime, and two grandchildren who haven’t seen their grandmother in 5 years. But there’s a wonderful tradition called La Posada Sin Fronteras where people
Lindsey Young
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Between us and Abuela" is a beautiful story about a family visiting their abuela at the Mexican boarder in San Diego. It's almost time for Christmas, and Maria and her brother plan to exchange stories and Christmas gifts with their grandmother at the boarder who they have not seen is years. However, Juan's gift (a picture) does not fit through the fence. Maria has a great idea to make the picture into a kite and fly the picture over the boarder. Her plan worked, and Juans picture makes it to ab ...more
María hasn't seen Abuela in five years. All María remembers of her is a voice saying, "angelita" - angel! It is now La Posada Sin Fronteras and María's family is taking the bus to meet Abuela on the California/Mexico border. This is the one day where they can see Abuela across the border, with a tall fence between them. Unfortunately, Juan's gift won't fit through the fence. María gets creative and thinks of a way to get Juan's gift OVER the fence to Abuela. With encouragement from the crowd, an ...more
Annamarie Carlson (she, her)
Siblings Maria and Juan are thrilled to head to the US-Mexico border to visit their grandmother and celebrate Las Posadas with her. Even though they are divided by a fence, they are excited to swap stories, but when it comes time to leave, they realize that their presents won't fit through the fence. Maria creates a cunning plan to get her younger brother's beautiful picture across the wall.

A beautiful, heartwarming story about families, love, and celebrations that also highlights the condition
Erin Buhr
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-books
Oh my. This story grabs your heart. I got a lump in my throat a few pages in and tears were forming in my eyes before the end. It is the story of a mom and her two kids who go to the border to visit with their Abuela. It brings to the forefront how families are affected by the border and humanizes immigration in a way that feels so needed right now. But it is also just a really good story. It has heart and love and drama and kids triumphing in an every day way. So so good.
Michala Sakotas
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book does such an amazing job of telling true stories and what actually happens in the World around us that students might not understand. Working with inner city students I have worked with students who have come from other borders and sometimes it is hard to explain to other students the life that these students have and what they went through. This book does such a great job connecting those dots and the illustrations and amazing.
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
A lovely story, and it introduced me to a tradition I had never heard of: La Posada Sin Fronteras, held every year in San Diego/Tijuana by the American Friends Service Committee: Definitely worth a read, and very useful as a discussion starter with immigration issues a front and center concern for the nation. ...more
Julianna Srock
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this book. I think this book does a great job at helping children understand what things can be like for some families. The book talks about the hard stuff but in a way that a child would understand. I would recommend this book to anyone who is trying to explain situations like this to their child.
I adore this book about something most people don't know about. About this place where families can meet around barb wire fence between California and Mexico. Heartwarming story but I really like that everything doesn't get wrapped up neatly at the end. Mitali Perkins continues to be such a wonderful writer ...more
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
The border wall, family separation, and Christmas in one timely picture book.
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Mitali Perkins has written many novels for young readers, including You Bring the Distant Near (nominated for the National Book Award) Rickshaw Girl (a NYPL best 100 Book for children in the past 100 years, film adaptation coming in 2021), Bamboo People (an ALA Top 10 YA novel), and Forward Me Back to You, which won the South Asia Book Award for Younger Readers. She currently writes and resides in ...more

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