Sunday, January 24, 2016

Rose, Judith Robbins. Look Both Ways In the Barrio Blanca.

Rose, Judith Robbins.  Look Both Ways In the Barrio Blanca.  Candlewick Press  2015 341p.  $16.99  ISBN 978-0-7636-7235-5      ms/hs  Realistic fiction  VG-BN

Jacinta and her two sisters are American-born Mexican girls.  Their parents are illegal immigrants.  The girls’ mother has left the family to return to Mexico to care for their abuelita.  The girls attend a youth program where Jacinta is befriended by a famous American personality as her Amiga.  While Jacinta is introduced to French-language classes, ballets, and gymnastics by this surrogate parent, her real family faces hardships, as her mother tries to return from Mexico and her father faces deportation.  Jacinta begins to question the friendship with her mentor as she begs for help with the family’s circumstances, which could endanger her Amiga.

This fast paced, true-to-life novel will engage young readers, particularly those
coming from diverse backgrounds.  The hardships that the family faces are accurately portrayed, as they come to fear American authority and face many instances of prejudice.  Readers will actually feel the conflicting emotions of all the characters and find themselves rooting for a happy ending for all.

This book is recommended for any middle
-school library and will appeal to young readers, particularly those coming from diverse backgrounds.

Summary: Jacinta and her two sisters, American-born Hispanic girls, and their illegal-immigrant parents struggle to face the issues of deportation and eviction; meanwhile, Jacinta is befriended by an American TV star who encourages Jacinta to follow her dreams and education.  However, the relationship becomes strained as the dark realities set in.        

Immigration-Fiction                                         --Virginia McGarvey

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