We Belong

Dial. Mar. 2021. 208p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593112205.
Gr 4 Up–Sisters Stella and Luna ask their mother, Elsie, for a story one night before bed. Elsie shares with them two stories that weave together and complement each other. First, she tells the story of Dalisay, mother of three demigods; second, the story of Elsie’s own childhood and mother who was abusive. Because of this, Elsie found herself always searching for other, better, mothers in stories. Told in verse, mixing Tagalog and English, the plot takes place through flashbacks and current moments. This sweet tale jumps around between Elsie’s childhood in the Philippines, her eventual move and adjusting to life in the United States, Filipino culture and mythology, and present-day moments between mother and daughters. A glossary of Tagalog words used is included in the back of the book.
VERDICT Everman’s debut tackles timely topics such as immigration, and something that all adults and kids yearn for: a sense of belonging. A short, charming tale perfect for easing students into middle grade and longer chapter books.

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