Book Review – Dancing Home by Alma Flor Ada
Publisher: Atheneum books for young readers – July 2011
A year of discoveries culminates in a performance full of surprises, as two girls find their own way to belong.
Mexico may be her parents’ home, but it’s certainly not Margie’s. She has finally convinced the other kids at school she is one-hundred percent American—just like them. But when her Mexican cousin Lupe visits, the image she’s created for herself crumbles.
Things aren’t easy for Lupe, either. Mexico hadn’t felt like home since her father went North to find work. Lupe’s hope of seeing him in the United States comforts her some, but learning a new language in a new school is tough. Lupe, as much as Margie, is in need of a friend.
Little by little, the girls’ individual steps find the rhythm of one shared dance, and they learn what “home” really means. In the tradition of My Name is Maria Isabel—and simultaneously published in English and in Spanish—Alma Flor Ada and her son Gabriel M. Zubizarreta offer an honest story of family, friendship, and the classic immigrant experience: becoming part of something new, while straying true to who you are.
Reviewed by Amanda
In this enchanting book, Margie, a Mexican American has her life spun around by the arrival of her Mexican cousin, Lupe. Can Margie forget her own struggle to fit in to help Lupe find her place in the USA:
Dancing home is a heartwarming, wonderfully written story of family, belonging and culture. Alma Flor Ada’s use of descriptions, her easy to read narrative and her joyful style make this book a true pleasure to read.
This is the perfect book for any young girl.
The use of Spanish and its easy translation mean the characters are believable and likeable. The whole book reads like a song and I found it hard to put down.
I would highly recommend Dancing Home to anyone. It is certainly a story that will stay with me for a long time to come. Utter joy and pleasure.
Amanda’s Rating – 4 stars