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The Tequila Worm

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,478 ratings  ·  270 reviews
Sofia comes from a family of storytellers. Here are her tales of growing up in the barrio, full of the magic and mystery of family traditions: making Easter cascarones, celebrating el Dia de los Muertos, preparing for quincea–era, rejoicing in the Christmas nacimiento, and curing homesickness by eating the tequila worm. When Sofia is singled out to receive a scholarship to ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 13th 2007 by Wendy Lamb Books (first published 2005)
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Olivia You can read it as a paper book, digital copy etc. I believe there may even be an audiobook.

If I'm not mistaken there may also be a Spanish-language e…more
You can read it as a paper book, digital copy etc. I believe there may even be an audiobook.

If I'm not mistaken there may also be a Spanish-language edition.(less)

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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,478 ratings  ·  270 reviews

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I found myself laughing throughout the story as I related to a lot of the stories in this book. There need to be more books like this out there for kids, books that will make them proud of their heritage, books that will make them value family, books that will inspire a young child to aspire and achieve great things in life.

Sofia is a young Mexican girl who lives with her family in McAllen, Texas. She tells stories of her family and the traditions that have been passed on to them. It is a beauti
Sep 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Gave it to my daughter. Want to fill her bookshelves with strong young women characters.
Nov 11, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ages 11 and up
Shelves: young-adult
Tequila Worm is intriguing. It opened a door for me, a non-Latino, into a world that is complicated and unfamiliar to me. Especially touching were the cafeteria scenes. Ms. Canales does a great job illustrating the complex nature of interpersonal/inter-racial relationships and finding a safe place for ourselves in the world. We just all want to belong right where we are; sometimes that is really, really hard! I was especially lucky to meet this author when she came to talk to the students at Web ...more
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Finally finished this book. It's an incredible story about family and identity.
Aug 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
An absolutely splendid novel, especially for anyone from Texas, especially for anyone near the border. Sofia is a young girl who dreams of life beyond "The Valley," what South Texas Residents call The Rio Grande Valley. Most people she knows can't comprehend why anyone would want to move away from the valley, away from family, and away from what she knows.

The story is about Sofia learning to be a comadre, about learning to be part of the network of closeknit group of family and friends, about st
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a touching story! The descriptions of her family and traditions are vivid and beautiful. I loved this book and highly recommend it!
Vamos a Leer
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I needed this book. It was a pleasant break from the heaviness of the last two books we’ve featured, which isn’t to say that it’s insignificant or unimportant in any way. It’s certainly not a ‘fluff’ book. It’s incredibly moving and meaningful, yet there’s still an air of lightness to it. It’s infused with humor, even as you read some of the more serious sections. This is the kind of book that you find yourself smiling through, or maybe even laughing out loud.

I couldn’t have asked for more perf
Jul 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: latina-o
Genre: fiction
Format: traditional literature text
Age level: upper middle school

This bulk of the book is written in the voice of 14 year old Sofia; however, we get to know her from childhood to adulthood. Sofia talks about her life growing up in McAllen, Texas in a traditional Mexican-American household. Her family is close-knit and one of the main themes of the book is becoming a “comadre” or “someone who makes people into a family.”

This idea is tested when Sofia leaves her community of McAlle
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Have you ever heard about this book called The Tequila Worm by Viola Canales . The book is about a girl Sophia who is coming of age. It starts out in her early childhood and soon fast forwards to more of her early teenage years. The book is set in a small town in Texas named McAllen. And in the book it talks about her problems and her decisions that she has to make and this really big decision that will come to a complete change in her life. This makes me realize in the book that the character
Sofia The Great
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: latino, 2016
4 Platypires for The Tequila Worm by Viola Canales

The title and the cover is what initially hooked me. I had it on my TBR shelf for a while and finally picked it up from a local book store. I'm so glad I did.
The Tequila Worm is a culturally filled book that is filled with humor and a lot of love. I truly enjoyed the family dynamic. I thought it captured what it means to be apart of a Hispanic family. I also learned a lot about Mexican traditions that were really new to me even after growing up
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a fantastic read a loud for my 6th graders. Loved sharing another great diverse voice with them.
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Tequila Worm by Viola Canales is a young adult/children’s book that was published in 2005. The book received many awards and recognitions including the Américas Award Honorable Mention in 2005 and the Pura Belpré Award for Writing in 2006. That same year the book was recognized as an ALSC Notable Children Book & a Judy Lopez Memorial Award Honor Book. Viola Canales is from McAllen, Texas, attended St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas and graduated from Harvard Law School. The Tequ ...more
English Education
***spoiler alert*** TW: family tragedy
The young Mexican-American, Sofia, lives in Texas in a close Mexican community. During her time at the elementary school, students call her “Taco Head”, which hurts her feelings. She wants to get revenge by surpassing the girl who invented the name in every subject. Because of her good results, Sofia is offered a scholarship into Saint Luke’s Episcopal School. She struggles to make her parents proud and to show them that it was the right decision to leave h
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Viola Canales grew up listening to stories and legends from her family. As a writer she has an excellent flair for depicting the culture she learned and the coming of age with wanderlust that she lived. Her semi-autobiographical account of a young girl leaning to be Chicana and yearning to go beyond her home is personal, poignant and very brief.

At times that brevity serves her well, keeping settings simple and indulging in the characters who built her world. At others, it comes across as a sligh
Sarah Hannah
It took me awhile to get into this, and I do think a lot of the transitions in time period were poorly done. I am never a fan of "and then I got old and it turns out I was looking back on all this time and being wise for you, o young reader" stories, so the ending ruined it for me even if it was about theoretically interesting developments. Also, the repeated "cascarone" when it's a "cascarón" or multiple "cascarones" just made me crazy, along with the italicized Spanish and ridiculous overexpla ...more
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was cute story. I would recommend it to any student looking for a book that embodies a culturally rich Mexican American family.
Sofia's family believe in the old ways. Theirs was a time of small safe neighborhoods with parks and plaza's where communal gatherings were commonplace. Her mother wants her to be a good comadre (friend)to her peers and social circle. Momma thinks this will help Sofia when she is older and married with children of her own. When Sofia is offered the chance to attend
Christine K
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'll be the first to admit I was drawn into this book at the library by the bold colors and cover design. I was looking for a light read but I didn't know I selected one with so much heart. In esssence, this is a coming of age story set in McAllen, TX where the author is from. It was a wonderful look into Mexican culture as well as reading secondhand how it feels to explore your own culture (typical American). There are some very touching scenes among Sophia, the main character, and her family & ...more
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the second story I've known about the Mexicans. The first was a movie called "The Book of Life" which I enjoyed immensely, in part because of their rich and wonderful culture and also because Mexicans are great at being humans.

Everything about them is colorful and vibrant and I just wanna spend my Halloween in Mexico. The way they view death with not just weeping but celebrating the life of a person and with the belief of them coming together again someday warms my heart.

And this book!
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Truly lovely depiction of family memories described vividly and with love. It made me nostalgic for 1960's culture with the covered plastic furniture and close-knit communities. A warm tribute to time, place, and culture. A particularly favorite scene comes when Sofia cleans and cooks pinto beans with her Papa.

Favorite passages:

p. 198 for now I understood that it was not an obsession with death that Mexicans had after all, but rather an acceptance of it--woven like a thick vine throughout our l
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
The district provided this book for my classroom library. I was a bit worried about the title because it mentions alcohol. However, I was pleasantly surprised.

I have to admit bias. I grew up in McAllen so I waxed nostalgic as I read.

The author previously wrote short stories. Some of the book read as short stories with the chapters related only by the characters. It felt disjointed. However, that may be because the author was using the storyteller's format.

I was very glad to see a Hispanic novel
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Tequila Worm is the story of Sofia, who has always lived in the barrio with her family, together they practice different traditions such as making cascarones for Easter, celebrating el Dia de los Muertos, and planning quinceañeras. After being called “Taco Head” in elementary school, Sofia strives to become smarter than those who made fun of her. After being offered a scholarship for a boarding school, Sofia goes to the school and continues her adventure. I enjoyed this book since it offers ...more
Anne Hennessey
Dec 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Canales, V. (2007). The Tequila Worm. New York: Wendy Lamb Books.
Genre: Fiction
Sofia is a very smart girl who didn’t grow up with a lot of material things. She dreams of going to a boarding school and getting the best education she can. One day her dream comes true when she wins a scholarship to attend the school she always hoped to go to. Now Sophia must make a difficult decision, leave her loving home,culture,family and friends for a great education.
I would use this book to talk to students
joseph skridulis
I thought the book was interesting because of how this girl named Sofia wants to move up from living in a cold house with no heating to living in a nice neighborhood. But the only way she can be in a nice area like that is to leave her family to go to a new school that is far away and she had to get good grades to get an opportunity into that school. And she wants that but she also wants to learn how to be a good comadre, which is what her family wants her to be. And she found out how to be a go ...more
Fionna Freeman
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was pretty short so I didn't expect much from it but it actually was quite interesting. It showed the story of a little girl of Hispanic roots and how she overcame her challenges. I enjoyed the storyline and thought that for the length the characters were pretty well developed although, I would have liked to see a little more conflict. This was a very heartwarming story and I also liked how Canales tied in Catholic and hispanic traditions. Over all, this book was pretty good and I woul ...more
Chance theriot
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Tequila Worm is about a girl and her family always telling stories. For example, the tequila worm is known as the care for everyone. from viewing the first few chapters, it looked like it was going to be a story each chapter, but it then turned out to be one big story. After reading this book, I found out that some of the stories in this book are based on real historical Hispanic stories.
Anarely Garcia
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This novel was great. Being someone who grew up on the border just as Viola Canales, I can relate to the tales in the book. The book shows the younger crowd can reflect on because it shows what they might be going through. They can use it to cope and know they are not alone.
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Read this when I was about the characters age. So wonderful to connect with someone on the pages- who understood a Chicana's life and how she fits with the rest of the world.
Joyce Yattoni
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Notice this was a book I started way back in October and then paused. While it is only 199 pages it is rich with history about living and creating traditions in the barrio in McAllen, Texas. It is a story about a girl who at first is embarrassed by her community’s lack of wealth and “silly rituals”. This story is filled with rich Mexican traditions found within the family. I enjoyed very much learning how family is everything to them and that neighbors and friends are too. I think our suburban “ ...more
Kaitlyn Schmit
I liked it, sorta - low 3 stars. I am curious about Mexican culture and I felt like I learned a bit about that, but the dialogue and story itself seemed stiff and forced. Not much substance to analyze. I wouldn’t jump at this to use in the classroom, but it would be easy for students to understand.
I liked the stories, but it’s really not a children’s book.
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Class of 2013: The Tequila Worm 1 6 Apr 07, 2013 02:52PM  

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Viola Canales (b. April 21, 1957)) is an American writer originally from McAllen, Texas. She has published a short story collection, Orange Candy Slices and Other Secret Tales (2001), and a novel, The Tequila Worm (2005), for which she won the Pura Belpré Award in 2006.

Canales attended St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Austin, Harvard College, and Harvard Law School. She has been a captain in the

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