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MAMA HAD TO WORK ON CHRISTMAS by Carolyn Marsden

MAMA HAD TO WORK ON CHRISTMAS

By Carolyn Marsden (Author) , Robert Casilla (Illustrator)

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-670-03635-8
Publisher: Viking

Nine-year-old Gloria is a Latina girl who lives in San Diego with her mother, a hotel worker, and her father, a migrant farm worker who’s away over the Christmas holiday. Gloria’s plans for a Christmas visit with her grandmother are derailed when her mother has to work at her hotel cleaning job, and Gloria has to tag along with her mother to the large hotel and wait in the kitchen. Throughout the long day, Gloria’s anger at her mother grows as she sees what the hotel guests enjoy in comparison to Gloria’s modest lifestyle. An evening visit to her grandmother’s home in Mexico reminds her of her family’s important traditions and their strong love for Gloria. The deliberate contrast of Gloria’s life with the fancy holiday atmosphere at the hotel is rather heavy-handed, and Gloria’s obstinate behavior makes her a sometimes unsympathetic character. Mexican Christmas traditions and Spanish words are interwoven throughout the story, though there is no glossary appended. (Fiction. 7-10)