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LA MARIACHI by Isabel Estrada


From the Own Voices, Own Stories series

by Isabel Estrada ; illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda

Pub Date: July 15th, 2023
ISBN: 9781534111912
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Tuchi dreams of playing the guitarrón in a mariachi band, but she falters when she learns girls are not allowed in the ensemble.

Hearing the mariachi band playing in the plaza inspires Tuchi. But she’s disappointed when her teacher, Mr. Sanchez, tells her she can’t play in the school’s group: “Mariachi is only for boys.” Later, when her grandfather plays with his friends, Tuchi asks to join in but is told that mariachi requires “strength and stamina. It’s just for boys.” After she finds her grandmother’s old instrument, her Nana encourages her by teaching her how to play and emboldening her to stand up for herself. Although Tuchi is unfairly discouraged by the adults she trusts early in the book, her grandmother’s mentorship, love, and heirloom guitarrón help Tuchi prove that she belongs in the mariachi band and that girls deserve the same opportunities as boys, especially in the classroom. Tuchi’s grandmother is a wonderful example of a positive role model, and their close and nurturing intergenerational relationship will resonate with many. Spanish words are sprinkled throughout; a glossary defines them. Characters are brown-skinned and cued as Latine; the focus on mariachi implies a Mexican setting. Music notes weave through the bright, cartoonlike illustrations, evoking Tuchi’s passion for mariachi. Musically inclined readers will appreciate backmatter with information on other mariachi instruments, with photos.

Uplifting and harmonious.

(glossary) (Picture book. 5-7)