Under the Mesquite

Lee & Low. 2011. Tr $17.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-429-4.
Gr 6 Up—This autobiographical novel in verse chronicles Lupita's coming of age set against the backdrop of her mother's cancer diagnosis. I love the way that the author begins with the diagnosis, and then follows up with a section of poems about her memories of growing up. She then returns to the present, and the final section deals tenderly with the loss of her mother, and the way her father helps the family through the crisis with quiet strength. This novel rightfully won the Pura Belpré Author Award and it deserves wide exposure. I particularly appreciate the glossary of names, Spanish words, and cultural references, which ties readers to the world of South Texas and the Latino culture that is so prevalent in that region.

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