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Call Me Maria

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  430 ratings  ·  78 reviews
A new novel from the award-winning author of AN ISLAND LIKE YOU, winner of the Pura Belpre Award.

Maria is a girl caught between two worlds: Puerto Rico, where she was born, and New York, where she now lives in a basement apartment in the barrio. While her mother remains on the island, Maria lives with her father, the super of their building. As she struggles to lose her is
Paperback, 144 pages
Published July 1st 2006 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published October 1st 2004)
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Shabrina her relationship is strong but not quite there you will see once you read the story

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Average rating 3.80  · 
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David Valliere
Jul 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Call Me Maria is a great story about a Puerto Rican girl who moves to New York with a father that was born there. The vignettes flow together well, creating a story told in three ways. Short stories tell the story of her active life, poetry reveals her insights, feelings, and transformations, and letters to her mother keep a dialogue alive between her old self and her new self.
The book creatively discusses identity issues with a range of complex characters. Her father, originally born in the Ne
Mrs. Joseph
Oct 22, 2015 rated it liked it
I thought the language in the book was lovely and I enjoyed Cofer's poetic style. I enjoyed reading the snippets of the character's lives, but I didn't feel that any of the characters were developed fully, which made it difficult to be invested in the story. I would recommend this book to students who are interested in the experience of adjusting to life in a different country or who enjoy poetry.
Sarah Fagan
Nov 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Young Adults
In this novel, Call Me Maria, written in letters, poems, and prose, Judith Ortiz Cofer offers a look into the life of a Puerto Rican immigrant as she adjusts to life in the United States with her father while her mother stays back on the island. The theme of belonging is quite present throughout Maria’s struggle to leave her old life behind and take the steps to build a new life for herself in the United States. She is at first sad to leave her country, but soon discovers that home is what you m ...more
Nov 16, 2011 rated it liked it
“When she leaves Puerto Rico to move to New York with her father, Maria can't be an island girl any longer. Now she has to figure out how to be a barrio girl” (3). Call Me Marie bridges the gap between cultures and countries, Puerto Rico (where she was born) and New York, where she must learn to adapt culturally and socially to her new environment. Maria’s search for self-identity rings clear throughout this novel as she deals with the transition of moving to a state that lacks the exotic and fr ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Fifteen-year-old Maria is living in the New York City barrio with her father in order to get an American education, while her mother remains at home in Puerto Rico. As Maria learns what it means to be Puerto Rican in America, she must also decide which world she wants to belong to, which parent she wants to stay with.

I'd never read anything of Cofer's before. This story is told in verse, letters, and diary entries. I love the way Cofer writes! Her poetry has some wonderful images. Warning to tho
Jul 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the author's use of language in this book. It didn't feel forced or overly flowery, but she used wonderful descriptions throughout the book.

Maria, like many adolescents, is trying to find out who she is. She's torn between being the Puerto Rican island girl and adjusting to her new life as a New Yorker in the barrio. I felt that the author did a great job of exploring the conflict Maria feels through Maria's own poems and writings. Maria associates much of her identity with the
Jul 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Call Me Maria is about a girl trying to find herself and her voice. Maria is from the island of Puerto Rico and lives there with her mother and father. When Maria’s father decides that he wants to move back to his home in the New York barrio, Maria must make a decision about who she is going to live with. Maria decides that she will go with her father and “explore a new world, conquer English and become strong.” Once Maria is in the barrio, she realizes that this new world is not what she expect ...more
A book about a girl named Maria who chose to move to New York with her father leaving her island of Puerto Rico, her beloved home, behind along with her mother. Call Me Maria is eloquently written in letters to her mother and journal entries in prose briefly describing her life in Puerto Rico before she moved calling herself Maria Alegre, and then chronicling her life in the barrios of New York as she tries to fit in. A great read that teaches how although someone maybe the same race, they can b ...more
Oct 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Through poetry and poetic prose, Ortiz Cofer tells the story of Maria, a teenager transitioning from life in Puerto Rico to life in the barrio. I enjoyed the rhythm and perspective of this book. However, the story and the mother and some of the other characters felt a little underdeveloped. Language, the strongest part of this book, may also make it slightly inaccessible to the young adults who may most enjoy Maria's story. I would recommend this book to high level middle school and high school ...more
Helen Cosner
Aug 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Bi-lingual educators/ESL
Shelves: fiction-yal
This book is a fabulous read for people who know some Spanish. It accounts for the emotions of a recent immigrant entering the North American educational system. It gives insight into the barrio life as well as a comparison to life in the country Maria came from, Puerto Rico. Written in prose, poetry, letters and brief summaries. Great for mini-lessons and read alouds.
Dec 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Even though “Call Me Maria” was a short book, it was a compelling read. Maria is a young girl who was born in Puerto Rico, and is obligated to move with her father to New York due to the depression that he was going through since he longed to go back to the place that he truly considered home. Maria’s mother continues to live in Puerto Rico and did not want to move because she was happy living in her homeland and didn’t want to lose her job, in which she is very compassionate about. This book i ...more
Call Me Maria
By Judith Ortiz Cofer
The multicultural novel Call Me Maria is based on a fifteen-year-old girl that is living in New York with her father. Maria is Puerto Rican and her mother is staying in Puerto Rico while Maria is in New York in order to receive an American education. This is a novel where a young girl is attempting to choose between living an American life and staying true to her Puerto Rican roots. Not only is this a lifestyle decision, but it is a family choice as well because
Mar 20, 2010 rated it liked it
Call Me Maria
Judith Ortiz Cofer
Scholastic Inc., 2004, 127 pages, $6.99
Family, social issues, multicultural
ISBN 0-439-38578-4

Maria is a young girl who's life is torn apart and she is forced to grow up and decide what is best for her. Her parents separate from each other early in the novel and from the get go, Maria is forced to choose which parent to live with. Maria chooses to go with her father to New York, leaving her mother in Puerto Rico, so that she can get an American education. For being
Feb 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Call Me Maria is a culturally specific fictional text that illustrates the experience of a Puerto Rican female, Maria, who struggles to make a strange American city her home. Maria’s parents have separated because of her father’s pull to his home in New York where he is surrounded by other Puerto Rican Americans. Her mother, an island Puerto Rican, remains behind but keeps Maria bound to her native land and language through letters.

Award winning author, Judith Ortiz Cofer beautifully patches to
Jordy Baez
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Call Me Maria By Judith Ortiz Cofer

It is a beautiful day even in this barrio, I am almost unhappy" This quote shows how Maria begins to feel sad and lonely throughout the book in her lonely barrio without her mom . What I would personality rate call me Maria would be 5 stars because the book is so amazing and interested to me as Maria young teenage girl who is separated from her mom and stays with her father to go to high school and possibly college. As later Maria begins to feel better when
Adamaris Jauregui
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was about a girl named Maria who lived in an island with her mom and dad.Her dad did not want to want to live in the island; he wanted to live in his hometown the barrio.Marias mom and dad were not getting along so well and her dad went to live in the barrio and toke Maria with him.I liked this book a lot because it showed Marias true feelings through her poems.I also really enjoyed it because it showed the letter that Maria wrote to her mom and the letters that Marias mom wrote to her ...more
Sarah Donovan
Oct 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really like Maria, caring more and more about her story with each entry-a poem, a letter, a journal. The poem about her friend is lovely, "Picture of Whoopee": "She stalks and pounces on life, takes steps two at a time." I look forward to sharing this with students.
Mikayla Green
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
Call Me Maria is a mix of poetry and narrative that is written from the point of view of young Maria who is from Puerto Rico and moves to New York City with her father. Maria's mother is a teacher and loves their Island so she could not go with Maria and Papi to New York City. Maria makes the brave decision at a young age to leave her home and find her place in a new country, where she will have a better opportunity and can further her education. Maria tells us of her dreams, fears and ho
Oct 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Amy Freeman
ENGL 3391
YA Book Review 2
Call Me Maria
“I am almost not unhappy, I am a different Maria, no longer the Maria Alegre who was born on a tropical island,” confides Maria to us (2). Call Me Maria is a wonderful story that is told through a unique manner of letters, poetry and prose. She tells the story of her transition from her mother’s native soil of Puerto Rico to her father’s concrete barrio in New York City. Maria leaves her beautiful tropical island to go with her father and live i
Oct 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was really a lovely book. I know "lovely" is a cheesy word, but that's how it really feel. Graceful with a simple and delightful beauty. Through letters, poetry, and prose, we learn the story of Maria as she moves from Puerto Rico to New York City with her father, leaving behind her mother. What is beautiful about this book is not just the sincerity with which Maria confronts all of the changes in her life but the playfulness that she exhibits through her language. By the end of the book, s ...more
Bianca Rosa-Aviles
Jun 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book comes fifth in my text set as it now moves into addressing diversity with respect to ethnicity, race, and socioeconomic status. This story is about a girl named Maria caught between two worlds: Puerto Rico, where she was born, and New York, where she now lives in a basement apartment in the barrio. Maria was happy living in Puerto Rico but her father was not. He missed the barrio and so finally he bought a plane ticket to Ny. She was given a choice about whether to stay in PR or go to ...more
Nov 30, 2010 rated it liked it
This book is about a girl named Maria who lived in Puerto Rico but moves to New York with her dad when she gets older. Maria is very confused in the middle of the book. Her parents are getting divorced. She lives in a basement with her dad in a apartment. She misses her mom like crazy. And the sun and the beach. She misses her life back in Puerto Rico. Maria tries to ignore everything and make the best out of things. As much as she wants to go back and live with her mother again shes scared what ...more
Jen Ackermann
This novel would be most appropriate for grades 5-8. This novel depicts the struggles of a girl trying to find a belonging and identity while being caught between two worlds. Maria deals with struggles and hardships of moving to a new country with new cultures, but she also never felt like she fit in within her own culture. The push and pull of Maria’s parents to be the Puerto Rican that each parent has their own ideas is ultimately makes it harder for Maria to decide where her heart is. This no ...more
Paige Kuhn
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Call Me Maria is awesome book about a young girl named Maria who moves to New York from Puerto Rico, with her father, who was born in New York. Maria has to deal with leaving her family, friends and everything she has ever known in Puerto Rico for new opportunities and an American education. Her mother doesn't move with them, as she has finally received her dream job as a teacher. The two exchange letters from time to time and the book features their conversations. Maria's mother and father ulti ...more
Mar 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a very intriguing novel. Telling the story through letters, poems, and prose makes for a very quick, easy, and enjoyable read. Maria’s inner struggle with finding her own identity coupled with the outward struggle with coping to new life in a place where everything is unfamiliar and she feels like an outsider is captivating. She is intelligent and “she knows more words than most of the native speakers,” yet her accent makes school a difficult place for her when all she ever wanted was an ...more
Dr. Barton
May 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Judith Ortiz Cofer’s coming of age tale about a young Puerto Rican girl trying to find her roots in the world. Her mother is an Island Puerto Rican and her father is a Nuyorican (Puerto Rican who grew up in New York City). At times, the story is predictable when compared to other tales of growing up and making your way in the world. The greatest source of entertainment is the break of dialogues in which Maria Alegra shows us her feelings through poetry. Maria struggles between three languages or ...more
Oct 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Call Me Maria is contemporary fiction book by Judith Ortiz Cofer. I would give this book 3 stars from 5 because it get boring with because she keep repeating the same thing over and over, but what gives it a 3 is that it has small interesting poems describing what's happening around her. This book is about a girl named Maria who has to make a tough decision of either staying with her mother or her father. Her father who recently became depressed wants to go back to New York, but her mother who w ...more
Living in Puerto Rico depresses Maria's father who grew up in New York City. Maria's mother however has a teaching job she loves on the isla she grew up on. Papi moves to Manhattan and Maria decides to go with him, to get an American education and improve her English. In Manhattan, Maria keeps busy with her studies, assisting her father who works as the super of their apartment building, and hanging out with best friends Uma and Whoopee. Through her poems, narration and letters to her mother, Ma ...more
Mar 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
When I read "Call Me Maria" it makes me wonder why can't Maria wait for spring to come? I can relate to the character because it's like somedays I want to leave my family and go live on my own but it's alway something holding me back.
At the end it make me wonder if Maria father passed away? My favorite part is when she is writing to her mother because she is telling her mother all the new thing she learned and because she is still show that she cares about her mom even thought she left. I love
Oct 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Latinas
I had some mixed feelings about this book. I liked parts of it and I think the poetry/prose combo was interesting but it sort of resulted in there being a lack of focus. This is story of Maria, a 15-year-old Puerto Rican who grew up on the island with her mom and now moved to the New York barrio to be with her dad. It's all about her finding her own Puerto Rican-American identity, an experience that I can sympathize with, but I still felt like the whole thing lacked depth sometimes. The whole ti ...more
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Judith Ortiz Cofer (born in 1952) is a Puerto Rican author. Her work spans a range of literary genres including poetry, short stories, autobiography, essays, and young-adult fiction.

Judith Ortiz Cofer was born in Hormigueros, Puerto Rico, on February 24, 1952. She moved to Paterson, New Jersey with her family in 1956. They often made back-and-forth trips between Paterson and Hormigueros. In 1967,

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