The House on Mango Street

Knopf. Apr. 1994. 160p. Tr $30. ISBN 9780679433354.
Gr 8 Up–Through a series of vignettes, Esperanza illuminates experiences as a young Mexican American girl and explores what it means to belong. She reveals her struggles with feelings of shame and vulnerability at school and with her friends because of her family’s house on Mango Street. As she matures, Esperanza realizes the beauty of her home through its people whose rich lives are interconnected with her own and with the development of her identity. Cisneros’s powerful text creates connection across multiple layers of identities and evokes feelings of validation and compassion in its readers. Short, poetic, and rich language builds complex depictions of the people in Esperanza’s neighborhood that easily allows readers to establish similarities and differences to their own lives and communities. Esperanza’s upbringing in a Chicago Chicane community is told through vignettes, making for a unique storytelling style that will pique the interests of teens. While there are some mature moments, readers will be invested in the characters and their experiences, and a detailed and guided discussion on tough topics will benefit younger students. This story about change and growth will resonate with high schoolers long after the final page is turned.
VERDICT Recommended for all collections.

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