Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Speak English, we live in America...
Dancing Home by Alma Flor Ada and Gabriel M. Zubarreta
Interesting Facts:Alma Flor Ada wrote this book with her son Gabriel M. Zubarreta.
The alternating focus in narration, gives readers a glimpse into the lives of each girl.
About the Book:Margarita is proud of being born in Texas because to her it means that she is American. However, she is ashamed of her Mexican heritage being that her parents and the rest of her family are from Mexico. For years Margaita has tried to "Americanize" her parents. She has taken measures to ensure that she does not deviate from the American way by only speaking English and changing her name to Margie. So obviously when her Mexican cousin Lupe moves into Margie's home and begins to attend school with her she is horrified at what others will think of her. Will they tease her about her Mexican heritage?
While Margie is dealing with accepting who she really is, Lupe is also going through her own crisis. She is dealing with living away from her family, her parents' seperation, going to a new school, and learning a new language.
Margie based her negative views on Mexico and being Mexican on the limited knowledge she had about the country. She also allowed herself to be influeced by the prejudices of others around her. In Margie's mind, Mexico was simply a place where people were filled with problems such as lack of money and medical care. She saw no point in learning Spanish since in her mind, "English was the language of anyone who amounted to anything."
Why read it?
Being of Mexican heritage but being born as an American, I recognized some of the same stereotypes and predjuces that I once had as a child. I remember when teachers would discourage us from speaking Spanish in elementary school. When they would hear any of us speaking Spanish they would say, "Speak English, we live in America!" That influenced my view of the language and convinced me that retaining this language was wrong and looked down upon. It was not until I got older that I truly appreciated being bilingual and saw the value of being able to communicate with my family in their native language. This book can help Mexican-Americans examine their views towards their own heritage. English Language Learners and students from other counties may also identify with the struggles that Lupe faces in moving to America. In a way this book reminded me of Home of the Brave.
One of my favorite quotes:"The United States is made up of all different kinds of people. And most of their ancestors came here form other places, even though they may have forgotten about it or may be trying to pretend that their family has always been here." (pg. 73)
KIDS.SimonandSchuster.com - Meet the authors, watch videos, and get extras
Alma Flor Ada's Official Site