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DANCING HOME by Alma Flor Ada


by Alma Flor Ada & Gabriel Zubizarreta

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: July 12th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4169-0088-7
Publisher: Atheneum

Two cousins, one born in Texas and the other in Mexico, learn the importance of family and friendship.

As an only child living in California with her Mexican-American parents, Margie Ceballos-González is proud to be American. Everything changes when her cousin Lupe González leaves her mother, stepfather and half-brothers in Mexico to live with Margie and her parents. Years before, Lupe’s father had moved to the United States for work and then disappeared. Margie and Lupe are both in fifth grade at the same school, and Lupe’s presence immediately draws exactly the sort of attention Margie has been trying to avoid. At home, she finds herself competing for attention as her parents welcome Lupe with Mexican foods and Spanish conversation. Sensing her cousin’s dilemma, Lupe finds ways to help Margie appreciate their shared Mexican heritage. Margie thaws, even realizing the beauty of her name, Margarita, which came from one of her mother’s favorite flowers, the daisy. The third-person narration shifts its focus gently from girl to girl, allowing readers access to their thoughts and feelings. The authors also connect Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío’s “A Margarita” to the story, and the full poem follows the novel in both Spanish and English.

Although sometimes wise beyond their years, Margie and Lupe will charm readers as each girl struggles for belonging and acceptance in this realistic novel. (Fiction. 8-12)