Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a super sweet story of the strong bond between a granddaughter and her grandmother, which transcends their language barrier. Mango, Abuela, and Me can be used in the classroom in critical literacy activities. Some of the themes that it addresses are listed below:
1. Family-centered culture – the story revolves around Abuela, starting from the point when her husband dies and her children decide to bring her to live with them. Mia (the granddaughter and narrator) is concerned in the beginning, but she soon develops a strong connection with the Abuela who came from afar.
2. Language barrier – the second main theme of the story is the language barrier between Mia and Abuela. Because they want to learn more about each other, they both also have to learn a new language. Their ties grow strong as does their language proficiency.
3. Kindness – throughout the story, there are several instances of kindness expressions from all the characters.
4. Immigration – We do not know the circumstances that brought Mia’s family to the U.S., but we do know that their cultural heritage is Hispanic.
The beautiful story told in the voice of a child (1st person narrator) suits Pre-K through 2nd grade. The Guided Reading level is M, and the Lexile measure is AD560L. The author inserted several words in Spanish, which brings more meaning to the story and shows aspects of cultural identity.
Additionally to the story, the book is also filled with gorgeous illustrations. This is a great book for a read aloud in the classroom. The Spanish version is also available, which teachers can recommend to Spanish-speaking parents who may want to become familiar with what their children are reading in class and who want to support their children’s bilingualism at home.
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