Efrén Divided

HarperCollins/Harper. Mar. 2020. 272p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062881687.
Gr 5-7–A timely story of one boy’s fight to reunite his family, save a friendship, and stand up for justice. Efrén’s favorite spot to read is the bathtub—when he wants to hide from his twin siblings, that’s where he retreats, though the smell of Amá’s delicious sopes always has a way of drawing him out. To Efrén, Amá is a Soperwoman! Living undocumented in the United States, Amá and Apá both work hard to provide a better life for their children. Although their apartment is small and money is tight, Efrén knows he has a lot to be thankful for. But one day everything changes. When he arrives home from school, Amá is gone. She has been deported. Stepping in to care for his siblings while Apá works overtime, Efrén tries to channel Amá’s superpowers. But when teachers and friends notice something is wrong, will Efrén find the courage to share the truth? Efrén’s story is not uncommon. In the last few years, the news has become saturated with headlines about deportations and separated families. Cisneros provides a heart-wrenching and evocative glimpse of what one family’s life might look like on both sides of the border. Using down-to-earth characters and authentic scenarios, he tells a story of resilience, strength, and love.
VERDICT In a time full of divisiveness and unknowns, this resonant title will inspire young readers to make a difference, no matter the hardships they face.

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