The House on Mango Street The House on Mango Street discussion

Is this a children's novel or an adult novel?

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message 1: by A (new) - rated it 3 stars

A H I can't decide what age should read this.

Cheyenne I read it in high school for English , can't remember what grade, so it must be at least ok for young adult.

Rachel i teach it to 10th graders. the vocabulary is easy- the subject matter and style i difficult, not kid friendly.

Bella Saberlina I think that for women (specially Latino women) age wont matter. Many things can be learned from the women Cisneros portraits in this book.

message 5: by Kvf (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kvf I am a 16 year old and thought that it was a good age for me and I could relate to ghe book a little bit. It is a pretty easy read with basic vocabulary.

message 6: by Jay (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jay I taught it to everyday sophomores. Set on Chicago's south side, Cisneros own place of origin, it resonates really well with bottom-rung, urban kids. It is great for opening discussions around puberty, sex vs. love, etc. as well as other social relations around age, ethnicity, and economics. Don't underestimate this book. Because her command of style allows her to write in a voice the age of the character as she matures, it is easy to believe it is a kids' book. Yet, I have used it with adult writer classes for exactly that stylistic aspect of the book. Read her other book, Hollering Woman Creek as a sequel.

message 7: by Edd (new) - rated it 5 stars

Edd Chango This book CAN work for freshmen/sophomore students as long as there is LOTS of guidance. It's much deeper than it appears on the surface. There are many obvious and even more subtle examples of elitism, sexism, and racism in abundance. The kids will get it IF you help them, but you WILL need to help them along. In my school district, it was taught it in 7th grade... WAAAAAAAAY too young for this book even WITH guidance. I actually read it to my 9th and 10th graders as a cultural unit in my Spanish classes. As I read, we discussed every chapter in detail. It was an awesome learning and growing experience for me as well as my students!

Autumn The entire book only obscurely deals with adult themes. I read it when I was a freshmen in high school, I think that's age appropriate; but seniors in high schools may be at the perfectly mature yet innocent age to really grapple with the text.

Indigo Cat I just read this this year for my Honors English class. (I'm in 9th grade.) Though there is sexual assault in this, it's described in more of an abstract way, and I think that most young readers would not realize what she is referring to. Much of the analysis of the book (e.g. why Cisneros waits until 4(?) vignettes in to tell us Esperanza's name) can be discussed with younger, (intelligent) readers. I see this book as novel that can be understood differently by different ages. Both my mom and younger sister (age 10) were able to connect to this book when I read a vignette to them.

Katrinka I studied part of this book in a college-level memoir writing class. The detailed imagery and the characterization in the small section we read in class prompted me to want to read more. This book is so well written it could be enjoyed by older teens and adults alike.

message 11: by Anne (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anne Great book! Colorful, diverse! Thoughtful! I believe it would work well in the 6th and 7th well as those beyond.

message 12: by Pat (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pat I rated this book with 2 stars. I did the audio version. I do agree that it is not a book for children. More like a late middle or high school. Probably very good for a Women's class.

Geoffrey This is one of my favorites.

Michelle I read it in 10th grade for my english class. I don't remember liking / appriciating it much. There are some parts that I would see as inappropriate for anyone younger than high school.

Otessa I remember a few of my classmates reading this book in my Gifted and Talented class in Jr High. I think it might depend on the individual.

message 16: by Nicole (last edited Jun 03, 2013 12:05PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nicole I read it in college, for a women's studies class.

message 17: by Amee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amee Burkett I read this in my World lit class in College 2nd year.

message 18: by Cristabel (new)

Cristabel I think this novel is meant to be read for High schoolers. Some of the vocabulary and figurative speech in this book may not be understood my younger students/kids. Especially on the section called Red clowns where the narrator is assaulted by a group of boys at the fair. This is an example of sections in the book that may not be suitable for young kids.

message 19: by Brenda (new)

Brenda I think this book was meant for 8th graders and up. 8th graders, their minds are maturing so they would understand what happened to Esperanza. Some might understand what she went through. I feel sorry for her. So this book is probably for high schoolers.

Elena Well, at my library it was in the young adult section, so I would think people between the ages of 13 and up can read it. Especially what happens in the book, you don't want to give it to a 11 year old.

Ashley This book was awful. Id tell any age group to not bother reading it.

Christine House on Mango is one of those books like Animal Farm that can be read by a variety of ages because the content will rise to whatever level the reader is ready for. Kids as young as 11-12 can get something out of it, and it has been used in college classes, for inferring/ evaluating and discovering deeper meanings as well as examining the poetry of the book.

message 23: by Janice (new)

Janice The style is extremely simplistic, so I guess that leads people to think it's for children, but the content and underlying meaning can be easily enjoyed by adults. I'd give it to a high school kid to meet in the middle.

message 24: by Ahmad (last edited Aug 13, 2014 07:34PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ahmad Adult. I suppose you can use it for teens if you're teaching somewhere that is "liberal" enough.
The style is simple. However, there is one chapter where a horrific rape occurs and there is domestic abuse and coming of age sexuality throughout.

Geoffrey This is one of those books that is inter-generational like Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland, Huckleberry Finn, etc.

Christine Because the rape scene is veiled, a lot of times kids don't actually 'get' what really happened. Most of the required reading for U.S. high schools have 'adult situations' with things like rape, murder, incest, and suicide taking place.

message 27: by Laura (last edited Sep 05, 2014 01:55PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Laura Lewis Bella wrote: "I think that for women (specially Latino women) age wont matter. Many things can be learned from the women Cisneros portraits in this book."

Christine wrote: "House on Mango is one of those books like Animal Farm that can be read by a variety of ages because the content will rise to whatever level the reader is ready for. Kids as young as 11-12 can get s..."

I don't agree with this. Though the rape scene is veiled, I would never have allowed my younger sister or nieces to read this until they were at least 16 years old. It's a shocking scene once the pieces come together, and even before they do it can feel very awkward and uncomfortable even when you don't know why.

Lillian I read this book when I was 13 and I loved it! It is a beautiful story of hope and courage. I don't think that I would recommend this book to anyone under 13, though. There are some more mature bits in it.

C. J. Scurria I read it for school either as summer reading program going in as a junior or senior. It was good. I would definitely say it's good for mature teenagers and none younger because it deals with tough themes at times.

message 30: by Lrph (new)

Lrph I am a Media Specialist in an elementary school. I am reading it to the 4th graders in my school. There are parts that go over their heads, and I let it. However, most of my 4th graders live lives similar to Esperanza. In each vignette my 4th graders make connections to their own lives through Esperanza's words.

Each week when I introduce the new vignettes my students actually sit on the edge of their seats. The virtual students lean in to their computers. They remember the bike, and the music box, the stolen car, and how Marin didn't know Geraldo's last name.

They like the way Esperanza tells her tales. They follow her voice in a way that impresses the hell out of me. Sometimes I wonder if they're getting the gist of it, and then someone will comment and I am assured that they feel her life in their bones.

For most of my students, it's the first time they've been so viscerally affected by a book. That alone is a reason to read it to younger children. Maybe not kids from the suburbs who don't live like Esperanza. But my urban students know already. In "House on Mango Street" they finally see themselves in the the pages of books.

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