Amalia deals with loss while learning about love and her cultural heritage in this tender tale from acclaimed authors Alma Flor Ada and Gabriel M. Zubizarreta.
Amalia’s best friend Martha is moving away, and Amalia is feeling sad and angry. And yet, even when life seems unfair, the loving, wise words of Amalia’s abuelita have a way of making everything a little bit brighter. Amalia finds great comfort in times shared with her grandmother: cooking, listening to stories and music, learning, and looking through her treasured box of family cards.
But when another loss racks Amalia’s life, nothing makes sense anymore. In her sorrow, will Amalia realize just how special she is, even when the ones she loves are no longer near?
From leading voices in Hispanic literature, this thoughtful and touching depiction of one girl’s transition through loss and love is available in both English and Spanish.
Ada and Zubizaretta's (Dancing Home) uneven collaboration focuses on the deep bond between Mexican-American sixth-grader Amalia and her grandmother. When Amalia's best friend, Martha, moves away from Chicago, Amalia's Abuelita helps Amalia cope with the anger and sorrow. But when Abuelita unexpectedly dies, Amalia descends into an overwhelming grief that renders her unable to connect with the many relatives who descend upon their household and whose stories Abuelita often shared with her on their weekly Fridays together. The authors successfully depict family love and closeness across generations and distances, but their combined voice lacks energy, relying on summaries and platitudes: "Moments like this made their friendship so special." Two of the livelier sections are memories: one of a camping trip with Martha's family and one of Amalia's grandmother's guidance in helping her granddaughter resolve a wrong action. In the final chapters, when Amalia directly faces her grief and reaches out to her relatives, the book finally takes on an authentic emotional poignancy, bringing a closing richness to this story of a girl's first experience of loss. Ages 8 12.