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HOME AT LAST by Susan Middleton Elya


by Susan Middleton Elya & illustrated by Felipe Davalos

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-58430-020-5
Publisher: Lee & Low

Elya (Eight Animals on the Town, not reviewed, etc.) departs here from her usual format of teaching Spanish to explore the difficulties faced by immigrants in a new land. Ana’s family, just arrived from Mexico, must adjust to foreign surroundings and a different language. Ana is delighted with her teacher in school and picks up English quickly. Her father’s job in the canning factory affords him the opportunity to learn English, too. But her mother, who mostly stays in the apartment with Ana’s twin baby brothers, feels homesick and overwhelmed with the prospect of learning a new language. Not being able to communicate at the grocery store is bad enough, but when one of the twins becomes ill and Mama cannot make herself understood by the neighbors, she knows it is time to learn English. With the family’s encouragement, she enrolls in a class in the evening and makes steady progress, acing her first test. Mama finds that her newfound language skills make life easier, enabling her finally to think of the new place as home. Appealing illustrations in oil convey the warmth of Ana’s family, although they are portrayed as more middle class than the average newcomer from Mexico is likely to be. A well-told story of triumph and family solidarity. (Picture book. 5-8)